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Night Terrors

Alpanon Jan 6th, 2015 (edited) 8,660 Never
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  1.      Night terrors
  2. – Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Shakes
  3.  
  4. (Note: the title was originally going to be Night of the Lizards, a direct translation of the Finnish idiom ”liskojen yö”, but I didn’t want to give false hope to my scalebros. The meaning remains mostly the same.)
  5.  
  6. 1.
  7.  
  8. I remember it like it was yesterday, how I moved here. I sigh as I realize that this is the only manuscript I will ever manage and I ruined it by starting wrong. Though I guess moving here WAS the first mistake I made.
  9. My name is… no, that’s silly. If you’re reading this, then you will know perfectly well who I am… was. It would have made the news by the time anyone will find this. I guess I started off alright after all, I need no introductions. But that means everything since the beginning is a waste of time. I apologize, but my mind is not at its sharpest right now.
  10. As a university student, I believed it was time to move on my own, or my parents did, at least. Heh, if it’s Mom and Dad reading this, I want you to know that I love you, and I’m sorry I never amounted to anything, and that you are not to blame. Stay out of my computer, though. There’s porn in surprising places, and I don’t want you to stumble on it by accident. Let little Manny find it. Don’t be fooled, he’s been watching that stuff for five years now. Manny, if it’s you: stay in school.
  11. Yeah. That felt better, actually; sending a communication out to my loved ones, in the future. I guess that was my last will and testament, too.
  12. The reason I’m writing this, though, is that, well… I doubt anyone else will share my fate here, but I want law enforcement to understand that… I guess I have to think a bit. I apologize again, but it really is difficult to think now. If I relate the entire story to you in these… I hope pages, that is, if I’m able to, then it would serve the purpose of explaining everything, and maybe... yes. Maybe it’s for the best if I clear my head and just get started again. Third time’s the charm.
  13.  
  14. I remember moving here, like it was only yesterday. As a university student, it was time to move out of my parents’ place, and as the socially awkward type I opted against moving into a dormitory. As luck would have it, I came across THIS place, a single storey house, with a small yard, all neighbours behind fences, and for sale for a very, very reasonable price. I had the inheritance from my uncle Owen, who thought of me as his own son – there had been some confusion, apparently he had been with Mom at around the same time as Dad. They weren’t on speaking terms. Wait, the inheritance… I thought it’d be a good idea to buy the place. A house that was in good condition, or so the real estate…. person assured me, thought Tanuki have been known to lie. It had been my intention to buy a car, a mighty good one at that, but when this house was presented to me, I decided to buy. THAT was my first mistake! The moving in was only the second. Though what reason did I have then to not do so?
  15. We had a housewarming party, of course, and that went on longer than expected. I’m not a party animal, and there wasn’t much alcohol or loud music until my parents and kid brother left. My circle of friends was tightly knit and as loyal to one another as the three musketeers, and like the three musketeers, there were four of us. After the three of them – by the way, I love all of you too, and no Alp here, that mistletoe thing with Joey was a fucking joke – had left, I went to bed and was out of it before I could jerk off.
  16. The next day I spent organizing the house, cleaning up after the party and putting things in their place, you know how it goes. I didn’t have all that much stuff, actually, and it had taken only a single trip to get all of it moved here, since we had four cars available. I was busy; I kept all the windows open and listened to the birds in the yard sing. There were trees all over the house, some would grow apples, others cherries. It was idyllic. Now why would a place like this have been so cheap? The Tanuki avoided the subject. Maybe it was haunted? Tsk, I’ve got the Exorcist Hotline’s number saved in my cell.
  17. When I took the trash out for the first time I met my nosy neighbour, that sweet old woman who might have saved me. That remains to be seen. Regardless, she gave me my first warning.
  18. “Sleep alright?” she asked, and I was dumbstruck. She wasn’t a cougar, was she? Turns out she wasn’t, no. She told me she didn’t want to alarm me, but that the previous inhabitants had all packed up and left after a while, because they couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. I hadn’t had such problems at that point, so I dismissed it.
  19. Most of the day I went about arranging things, putting things in order… setting up a TiVo is harder than I thought it would be. I checked out the yard, too. Fence could have used some work, and I thought, hey, it’s summer, I’m not doing anything else, and it’s my yard, so why not?
  20. I got a bit of advice and help from Dad and got to work on the fence. I wanted it high enough to prevent people form seeing into the yard in case I decided to sunbathe naked or something – that’s not something I do, just trying to be funny – so I spent a lot of money on boards. Dad gave me a hand financially, and helped me pick up tools for the job, and in general. I knew nothing of tools. The lot was now mine, so Dad thought I should build a shed, too. All in due time, of course. Still, that’s what we planned. The day had been eventful, at least by my standards, and I slept like a log. The next day I got to work on the fence, and while Dad and I - but mostly Dad – cooked inside, we ate outside. It was a beautiful day. My wrist hurt from the hammering.
  21. It took me about a week to finish that fence, paint and all. Dad only helped on that one day, so I got everything done really slowly, being lazy and without any talent or experience. I feel no shame in this. Every day of that week I spent outside, and slept like a log every night. It wasn’t until after I finished the fence that I first got that weird feeling. Yes, I thought then it was just because of what my neighbour had said, but I felt like… I wasn’t alone.
  22.  
  23.  
  24. 2.
  25.  
  26. I felt the need for a cup of coffee before continuing, and I’m drinking it now, black. Ho, it was a feat of courage to go and make it, I tell you. Think back to when you were a kid and you had to go to the toilet at night, and couldn’t turn on any lights on the way so you wouldn’t bother your parents. The fear of the dark must’ve been present, no matter how… faint, how undefined it may have been. The need to rush, the need to get back in bed and your feet from touching the floor as soon as possible...
  27. Do you ever get bothered if your feet come out from under the covers, or go over the edge of the bed, even when it isn’t really all that cold? Even during the summer, there’s this… something, which makes you feel uneasy, as if something might attack you. This is a completely irrational fear, of course… for you. Not for me.
  28. I’m trying to make myself feel a little less uneasy by saying all this, but it’s also to justify why I’m a little distracted. Now where did I leave off…?
  29. It was my second week at my new home, and I was very cautious in making the plans and arrangements for building a shed. Dad was not available to help me all that much, so I was on my own. Being lazy and not very good at this kind of thing, I naturally procrastinated as much as possible without actually dropping the whole thing. This meant I actually began to spend time in the house, and at first this was just fine and dandy. The unnerving feeling didn’t really come on at all during the day, at least not on Monday. It was Monday night that I felt a little weird for the first time, when the Sun had set and there birds had stopped singing and there was no more traffic outside, when the only sounds were the wind ruffling the leaves and whatever I made myself. The loneliness set in at that point, for the first time. Previously I had always been pooped in the evenings, being unaccustomed to manual labour, and had fallen asleep right away. Now I had the long evening and night to myself and my thoughts, and it was, as I said, lonesome. And with that loneliness came the fear, the fear that I might not be alone, that there was something ominous in the dark and in the silence. So I turned on the TV and watched shitty programming – The History Channel had a documentary about Ancient Apophis Architects who supposedly built the Pyramids to imprison the Pharaohs – and with that, I drowned out the loneliness and the creeping fear of the dark, the sound of silence and… the loneliness again.
  30. When I finally dragged myself to bed, I rediscovered the old childhood fear that made me keep my feet tucked in under the covers. I had been in the habit of sleeping on my back or side, but now I turned on my stomach, even burying my under the pillows. At the time I wasn’t exactly AFRAID, no, I was thinking that I couldn’t get any sleep if I didn’t. I don’t know how that line of thinking came to be, I certainly didn’t think anything of it at the time. It got a little worse Tuesday night, when I lied awake; trying to listen for something that I wasn’t quite sure I could hear.
  31. I must confess here something quite embarrassing, but I hope that whoever ends up reading this will find it less amusing and more helpful in understanding the situation. When I was a boy, I watched the Simpsons regularly. In one episode, the Treehouse of Horror number something, there was a story where Bart’s separated Siamese twin brother had been living in the house the entire time, in the attic and scurrying in the ventilation shafts. For some reason, this frightened me more than I cared to admit, and it gave me many a sleepless night in the weeks after. Back then I had imagined hearing something – or someone – moving in the walls. This of course had been just my overly active imagination, but now, as an adult, I experienced a similar fear, could almost hear the “rats in the walls”, as I’ve heard said somewhere.
  32. Yes, Tuesday night I could have sworn I heard something in the walls. A rustling noise, or so I thought. I tried to ignore it, to pretend I didn’t hear it, and at the time I convinced myself I didn’t hear it.
  33. The next night I convinced myself it was just the elements of the house making the noise, thermal expansion or some such nonsense.
  34. Thursday I heard it during the day, and had to go for a very long walk to clear my head. My neighbour, the old Catgirl, or should one at her age be called a Catlady… well, Mrs. Stripes anyway, saw that I was a little out of it, and asked me again if I had been sleeping properly. I was wary of going into any specifics for fear that she would think me mad, a paranoid schizophrenic or something. She had known the people who had lived there before though… am I repeating myself? Yes. Yes I am.
  35. Mrs. Stripes told me that an exorcism had been performed at the house. And before that, a séance. Neither had produced any results. No sign of any rodents had been found, and all structures seemed sound when inspected. No explanation had ever been found, and none of the inhabitants had bothered with the house for very long when no solution was found.
  36. I asked her if anyone had ever been harmed. The answer was no, apart from stress being built up and the almost constant paranoia they had experienced, which set my mind at ease a bit. Mrs. Stripes did warn me that I was also the first person to live in the house alone, and offered to house me if I was truly frightened. Still a virgin, I had no desire to sleep under the same roof as a widowed Werecat – that’s the PC term! – and politely declined.
  37. I did fret a great deal, though. There was no Ghost of any kind there. Then what? Maybe the house really was just living with the weather. That must’ve been it. Or…
  38. Yes, when you really think about it, the answer should have been obvious to me. Why would I assume the house was haunted, when it might just have been infested with Devil Bugs?
  39. It makes me laugh bitterly to record these thoughts, but I truly felt then that Devil Bugs were the lesser evil when compared to Ghosts.
  40.  
  41. 3.
  42.  
  43. I paused my narrative to go to the bathroom. I actually ran all the way there. Damn coffee.
  44. Still, it gave me time to think back a little bit, and I guess I should point out that there was very, very little evidence pointing towards there actually being Devil Bugs in the house, and if I had mentioned my suspicions to Mrs. Stripes, she might well have told me as much. In the pangs of my satori, though, I did not.
  45. The thing about Devil Bugs is, they are technically speaking not pests, and as such there is no legal right to “exterminate” them, even if they have infested a private residence. Professionals will have to be contacted.
  46. It was embarrassing for me. Not because I was ashamed of having Devil Bugs in my house – the medieval superstition of them only infesting places with horrible levels of hygiene had been proven false ages ago – but because the extractor – not exterminator, mind you! – wanted me to explain the situation.
  47. You’ve read my description of the situation so far. The professional was not convinced.
  48. Devil Bugs have a lot of telltale signs. None of those were found in my house. Moreover, they would not have been hiding. A lonely, single man like me would have been prime breeding material for them, and they would have sought me out within hours of the last guests leaving on that first day, rather than scurrying about for weeks.
  49. All of this was handled via phone, and by the time the call ended, I had been berated plenty and been led to understand I needed a priest or a therapist.
  50. I did not want to spend the night alone, just in case, and thought I’d get some support. Mrs. Stripes had invited me over to her place, but I thought it better to have her come to mine instead. I had ulterior motives, of course. Not the kind you’re thinking, I’m sure.
  51. Mrs. Stripes… I still think of her as “Mrs. Stripes”, even when she told me to call her Sunshine. That’s her first name, believe it or not.
  52. Anyway, Mrs. Stripes is a feline, as I’ve said, and her senses, even if dulled with age – she’s not THAT old, though – are quite superior to a human’s. It was my hope at the time to use her senses to find what I still thought were Devil Bugs.
  53.  
  54. Inviting over Mrs. Stripes was a hassle as well. I didn’t want to invite her around under false pretences, but then again I didn’t want to risk her not coming, or have her actually look for any rustles or such and then because she believes she hears something, she will hear something. I needed her senses to pick things up without any… cognitive dissonance, I guess.
  55. I tried to chance upon her “by accident”, but that didn’t really work out, so I ended up sneaking glances out my kitchen window, waiting for her to come outside for her walk – she often went for walks and sometimes, when nobody was looking, she chased birds – and then I went out, as if by coincidence. It was shameful, but there you have it.
  56. I didn’t even stutter when I invited her for dinner. I tried to act nonchalant, as if being neighbourly and nothing more. She agreed.
  57. In retrospect, I should have planned things out a bit better. All that time I spent waiting for her… stalking her, I could have spent instead working out what that “dinner” was going to be. Alas, I did not, and only after returning inside did I realize I was going to have to provide the dinner myself. There was not enough time to go shopping, and I thought it would be boorish to order out. The solution was obvious; it was time to cook Mom’s Spaghetti.
  58. Everybody can cook it, it doesn’t take much time, the ingredients don’t cost much, there’s very low – nonexistent, really – chances of failure, and most importantly, it’s delicious. So that’s what I made.
  59. The spaghetti was a success. It was Mrs. Stripes that didn’t go according to plan.
  60.  
  61. She showed up fashionably early, I answered the door still wearing my apron – it read “kiss the cook” – and she did as the apron bid her.
  62. I don’t want to give the wrong idea here, but this warms my heart and puts my mind at ease to record, and if I’m lucky, I may well see the sunrise and this will not be the end. No, Mrs. Stripes and I did not have an affair then. We did not end up in bed, and no, she did not even kiss me on my mouth.
  63. As I opened the door, I saw she was dressed in an ancient shell suit, from the 80’s I think, and it complemented her forms surprisingly well. She was smiling a subtle smile, and when she saw my apron, she leaned in to kiss my cheek. It was like a kiss from your mother, aunt, grandmother; she was old enough to be any of these things to me. There was no lust there; I felt no touch from her rough tongue. She giggled at herself, and so did I. Yes, I giggled, a grown man that I am.
  64. Her senses did not fail me, she smelled the spaghetti all the way to the front door, and commented on it. I don’t remember what she said.
  65.  
  66. We ate all of it. Mrs. Stripes – who began to demand I address her by her first name – had more of an appetite than I did. From time to time her ears moved, as if she heard something, reacted to some noise… but she never showed any signs of being bothered by anything particularly. She asked me about my family, and told me about her four generations of living relatives. Apparently, she had great-grandchildren. That wasn’t as rare in modern times as it had once been. I couldn’t tell you the details if I tried, I can’t recall the names of all the little kittens and boys she has seen born a grow. It was nice, comfy and cosy.  I never had meals like this with my own family. If I make it out of this, I’m going to remedy that.
  67. There was no dessert, and as I apologized, Mrs. Stripes promise to bake me a pie the next die. She asked which kind I liked best, and I said I preferred blueberry, but she shook her head and said we should pick apples from my yard and make an apple pie instead. I suppose that might be serviceable as well, and she promised to come the next day to guide me by the hand as we picked apples in my garden. I don’t know if she meant it as a dirty joke or if she was oblivious to the innuendo.
  68. She left after giving me a hug, a warm, soft hug that smelled sweet. Well, her hair smelled sweet. I did the dishes and went to bed happy. It was only after I had closed my bedroom door and hidden myself under the covers that I realized I forgot to ask her if she’d heard or smelled anything suspicious. Though I guess she’d have warned me if she did. This is of little comfort to me now. The Sun will rise in a few hours, and then… today we will go apple picking, if I’m around to do so.
  69.  
  70. It was the dead of the night when I woke up. I always slept with three layers of curtains covering my windows – summertime is bad for sleeping due to the level of light – and I didn’t… quite see. It was too dark to see what was happening, but I woke up to hear one of my desk drawers being opened. I was still under the covers, of course, on my stomach, my head buried under my pillows, so I was quite isolated from the rest of my room, and for a moment I tried to pretend I didn’t hear anything. Then I heard it again.
  71. I reluctantly moved my hand and face in such a way as to create a small opening through which to peek out. As I said, it was too dark to see properly. But I saw a shadow.
  72. Something was in the room with me, close enough to touch if I reached out my arm. I did not see what the shape was, but the top of what I hoped was a head was barely high enough to reach my waist. I froze in place, my breathing stopped. There was something in my room.
  73. There. Was. Something. In. My. Room.
  74. THERE WAS SOMETHING IN MY ROOM!
  75.  
  76. Whatever that something was, it noticed the how my regular breaths had stopped. It started all of a sudden, and then it was on the floor, flat, and then it disappeared out of my room, out of the open door…
  77. I rushed from under the covers, I rushed to the door and slammed it shut, grabbing my chair and barricading it. I almost wet myself. I was hyperventilating. My heart was racing.
  78.  
  79. That was the situation. After I thinked about my situation, there was no really much to do. I could not venture out, at the moment I did not dare to. I left my room twice during the writing of this, and I survived. Maybe I will see the morning. No, I WILL see the morning. But what can I do? I cannot prove that there’s anything here. Nobody will believe me. There are no ghosts, no Devil Bugs… what else could this be but my imagination?
  80. The mess in my room proves otherwise. But who would believe I did not make it myself? I checked the desk drawers. They had been opened, and I believe rummaged about. All of my crayons – mementos from elementary school, mostly used, but I saved them for sentimental reasons – were gone. The last drawer to have been opened had contained pure white paper, size A4. I began to write my story on those. I couldn’t say if there’s any missing. There could be.
  81. Now that I think about it rationally, I really shouldn’t be so afraid. I mean, the thing, whatever it was, did not attack me. Maybe it is not malevolent. Yes, I may well be able to reason with it. Maybe. Tomorrow – no, today – I will make no mention of it to Mrs. Stripes. We will pick apples and bake a pie, and we will have a good time, and I will not think about this. I will barricade the door to my room for the night, and then I will sleep soundly. And I will begin to plan things after that. Writing this has helped me see things more clearly. I don’t know if I will destroy this record or not. It could be that I’m wrong.
  82.  
  83. 4.
  84.  
  85. Morning came, and I found myself dozing off, as unbelievable as that may seem. I decided to keep writing this… log, just in case. I think I finally understand what all those audiologs in video games are about. In situations like this, people really do this kind of thing.
  86. After I got up, I cleaned up my room and set out to explore the house. For some reason I believed it to be safe during the day, despite having heard the rustling during the day. I discovered no tracks of any kind, no holes in the walls, no open windows or doors. I began to think that maybe the house was inhabited by a Nightmare, and I had opened up all those drawers in my sleep and been given that vision while asleep. No, if it was a Nightmare, it couldn’t hide, the exorcists would have dispelled it long ago even if a fully grown Centaur somehow had managed to keep itself hidden from the inhabitants of the house. And there were plenty of reasons why a Nightmare was a poor explanation for these events anyway. A regular bad dream and some sleepwalking? That I might have bought. At least until I saw the door of the fridge.
  87. There it was, plain as day… one of the pieces of paper that had been taken by the… the thing from my desk. Not empty anymore, oh no. There was drawing and some writing on it. I hesitated to touch it.
  88. It had been attached by one of my fridge magnets, a butterfly, and it was higher than the creature I saw last night should have been able to reach if it was as tall as I had gauged it to be.
  89. The paper was about third green and two thirds blue. The ground and the sky, apparently. The Sun was there too, a yellow not-quite a sphere. Cute.
  90. There were three characters in the drawing, a simple, little more than a stick figure with a smile and brown hair, with the words “Watashi no ai-ren”, or so I believe, the letters were very badly written. I have no idea what they were supposed to mean. There was an arrow under this sentence, pointing towards the figure.
  91. The stick figure was holding the hand of a little girl with a mess of black hair. At least I assume it was a girl, it was wearing what I think was a pink dress. Below the dress though… at first I assumed the thing was snake tail, that the little girl was a Lamia, but there were… feet. I think they were feet. So this little girl was… a centipede of some kind. There was a heart, a silly, red heart, drawn between these two characters. The word “Watashi” was written above its head, with another arrow to boot.
  92. The third character was also holding the girl’s hand, and… it was the most second most shocking thing in that drawing. A purple body, a striped tail, pointy ears and grey hair… This figure was obviously Mrs. Stripes as she would be drawn by a child. An arrow pointed to her as well, with the words “Neko obaa-san” written.
  93. And then there was the last thing. A white not-quite circle, on which was drawn what could only be spaghetti, with the words “okaa-san no spaghetti – umeshii!” and another arrow. The word spaghetti left no room for interpretation. The first figure was me, and the second was the thing I saw in the night.
  94. At the time I am writing this, it is still morning, and it will be quite some time before Mrs. Stripes will come back. Until then, if this thing intends to attack me… though I doubt it will. If I’m interpreting this drawing correctly, it’s… welcoming me. The heart is clearly a good sign, and so is the sunshine. And the hand-holding. Both I and Mrs. Stripes are accepted as friends… I think. And the spaghetti has been approved. I have no idea about the writing though, I can’t recognize the language, am not a 100 % sure I read them correctly, and have a feeling that they are not any language spoken by actual humans. I think I’ll try figure out what the centipede girl is. There may well be a catalogue record of it. Or her, she’s probably sapient.
  95.  
  96. I got on the internet after having some toast for breakfast – I have barely any appetite, and it was a poor last meal if indeed a last meal it was – and the internet informed me that the species of centipede girl is called an Oomukade, a native species of Japan. How one found its way here, I don’t know. An Oomukade is perfectly sapient, having mental faculties equal to those of a human being, all the ranges of emotion humans experience the Oomukade experience as well. Their centipede physiology allows them to hibernate during the winter if necessary. They have lived either in a peaceful coexistence with humans, or hiding among human constructed buildings if they are not welcomed. Oomukade have never been recorded as having created their own civilizations. They are capable of burrowing underground effectively, and are omnivores as humans are, though they have stronger predatorily instincts. In the 1600’s of Japan it was considered good luck to have an Oomukade – or even an entire family of them – living with the family.
  97. An Oomukade has, in accordance to their centipede physiology, venom glands. Oomukade venom is neither immediately fatal, nor used to procure food, but rather, it is an aphrodisiac. A very potent one. After Japan was opened up to foreigners, the species was hunted down to near extinction for several hundred years. A subspecies of millipede-like creatures is common in most of South-East Asia.
  98. Having learned the species originated from Japan, I thought I’d try to see if the words in the drawing were Japanese. Sure enough, they were. My estimates on what it said was: “mom’s spaghetti” and I had no reason to doubt the truth of this.
  99. For Mrs. Stripes, the text read “Cat aunt” or just “Cat lady”, which again, seemed accurate.
  100. Above the Oomukade, it simply read “me”, and lastly, there was what I had come to believe was a depiction of myself.
  101. “My love person”. That is the only translation I managed to work out. The heart seemed to support this.
  102. Looking at the picture more closely, I could see the Oomukade had drawn herself fangs. I don’t recall if the venom was applied through fangs or pincers. The love-potion venom.
  103. It seems my situation is clear enough, actually. I’m still worried, but slightly less so. So my house is not haunted. It’s not infested by Devil Bugs. I’m just sharing it with a possibly lovelorn, venomous Centipede Girl, who has apparently taken a liking to me. Anyone reading this would think me insane.
  104. I will tell Mrs. Stripes nothing. We will pick apples, bake a pie, have a good time, she will go home, and I will… see. Maybe set a trap. I must think this through. There’s no way the police would believe me if I told them there’s an Oomukade in this house, that it, no, SHE, has been living here for almost two decades. The implications of this are preposterous. I will see.
  105. Wish me luck…
  106.  
  107.  
  108. 5.
  109.  
  110. The apple picking did not go according to plan. It will be a while before sunset, so I will take this opportunity to write in my diary like a little girl so I can calm my nerves. So! The apple picking.
  111. There was a spring in Mrs. Stripes’ step, and she seemed somewhat more… youthful. She might have been purring, even. It might have been just humming, but I like to think she purred. It warms my heart to think so.
  112. She came to my door with a big wicker basket woven so long ago it must have been older than my parents. She was wearing a pink scarf on her head, but not the way grannies wear scarves. She was a lovely sight, in a completely non-sexual way.
  113. The apple trees in my yard were plentiful, and many of them were ripe for picking. I had no ladder, as it turned out, so we had to start off with the low-hanging apples. That was my thinking, at least. Mrs. Stripes would have none of it.
  114. I was shocked when she kicked off her shoes, took off her socks, stretched a bit, took the basket in her mouth, and just jumped. The apple trees weren’t exactly large, and even I could have climbed up them if I put in the effort. Mrs. Stripes though, she had no need to put in much effort. Her claws caught the tree easily, and she was up as fast as a squirrel.
  115. In a fit of playfulness she meowed loudly and asked me to catch her when she jumped down. In the end, she told me to just stand clear. I did, and she came down on her own. That elderly cat did a very stylish landing, touching the ground with only three limbs, holding the basket up high in one hand. She must’ve been quite the athlete in her youth.
  116. The same was repeated with four trees. Mrs. Stripes complained that there weren’t nearly as many apples as there should have been. Granted, some may have fallen on the ground and gone without notice, I had not mown the lawn here once yet, and the grass was getting tall. That would have to be remedied.
  117. As tempting as it is, I won’t bore my potential readers – or God forbid, policemen investigating my death – with tedious descriptions of baking an apple pie, or how Mrs. Stripes covered all of her slices in whipped cream twice – she always licked the first layer off – or about all her reminiscing. I enjoyed all that, but none of that matters now.
  118. After she left, there was still some pie left. I put it in the fridge and thought about mowing the lawn and seeing if there were any apples. Am thinking of it now, actually. I’ll return to planning for… the Oomukade afterwards.
  119.  
  120. I did not finish mowing the lawn. I suppose the correct phrase to use in a situation like this is “the plot thickens”. I almost broke my ankle when I fell through the ground near on of the trees.
  121. As it turned out, the Oomukade has burrowed through my yard. Hidden very carefully beneath shrubbery or under piles of leaves, there were no less than eight holes I discovered, all a part of a network of tunnels. I have no idea how extensive it is, and have yet to device a way to find that out without tearing up the yard. Does it lead into the house, though? This is a disturbing thought. At least it goes a long way to explain the lack of apples. The Oomukade must’ve eaten them. I should check the peaches as well.
  122. The discovery of the tunnels has given me an idea, though. Suppose I lay nets. No, that’s just silly. According to Wikipedia, Oomukade are sapient, and that means their level of intelligence is not only enough to avoid some simple traps, but to communicate. Isn’t that what the drawing showed me? Yes, I need to rethink my strategy. It had been my intention all this time to somehow capture and incapacitate the creature, but honestly, what reason have I to do so? While she may be a Monster, she is not some… otherworldly invader. I am not being haunted for being a spiderkiller after all. She’s not a pest. She is, no matter how you think about it, a squatter. She is staying here illegally – she may even be in the COUNTRY illegally, seeing as she seems Japanese – and on top of that, she is a thief. Yes, she has been stealing apples – and quite possibly peaches – from the yard, and who knows what else from the inhabitants along the years. Last night she stole paper and crayons! A squatter and a thief, that’s all she is!
  123. But there is no talking to the police on this matter. How would I convince them? They’ll tell me the tunnels are made by badgers and dismiss me as a lunatic. I must handle the situation on my own.
  124. A sense of pride fills me. During all these years, only I have figured things out. Granted, it was mostly with her help, but still. None of the previous inhabitants knew about her.
  125. Or did they? How would I know. I am now disturbed again. What if… no. Not a single person has ever come to harm here, Mrs. Stripes told me as much. A squatter and a thief, yes, but not a killer.
  126. Another thing bothers me now that I think about it. The quality of the drawing and the handwriting… that is the work of a child. A young one. From what I understand, the… rustlings, have been a problem for roughly seventeen years. Provided there has been no… breeding, then the Oomukade has to be at least seventeen years old. According to Wikipedia – the greatest sage of our time – an Oomukade has both the life-span and life-cycle of humans, meaning that she would be in a… wild period, so to speak.
  127. Several theories occur to me. First of them is that she is retarded, that she is here because she was deemed unwanted and simply abandoned. It is an unpleasant thought. The second is that she is trying to mess with me, to appear less threatening – or quite possibly, more threatening – but whatever the case, I need to establish contact.
  128. I have decided to confront her. Whether we will be able to speak to one another, whether or not she is incapable of comprehending speech or simply doesn’t know English, I cannot say. But contact has to be established. I do not want her here. If she needs help, then I’m sure the proper authorities will give it to her and get her far away from here, far away from me.
  129. But first I need to get her to show herself, to get her to come out of hiding, to make it so that I can prove her existence to the “proper authorities”.
  130. My plan may not be the best, but it is all I can come up with. I record it here in advance. I will place a slice of the pie near one of the holes. I will leave a note with the word “daijobu” written on it. That’s Japanese for “everything’s fine”. Hopefully, she will understand my intentions and show herself. I’ll leave the pie and the note in the evening, and spend the rest of the day working on the shed. Or the plans of the shed, anyway.
  131.  
  132. I have placed the pie and the note. Called Dad about the shed, asked for some advice, even jotted it down. Wish me luck!
  133.  
  134. 6.
  135.  
  136. I feel silly for writing the last sentence of my previous entry. “Wish me luck”? Anyone reading this will be in the future from when I needed that luck. Oh well, maybe the luck will be sent back in time. Though if it is, it will be useless, as only the people reading this would be able to wish me luck, and if anyone is reading this, I will not be anymore.
  137. Hah, what a philosopher I’ve become!
  138. Anyway, I barricaded myself in my room to wait. I did not intend to actually encounter the Oomukade during the night. A certain nervousness has compelled me to be patient. Though I know I must eventually meet her face to face, I am not exactly eager to do so. Then again, if it were to be done, the better it was done quickly.
  139. I seem to be digressing.
  140. During the night, the Oomukade tried to enter my room. As my door was barricaded – there was a chair preventing the handle from being turned down – she was unable to enter. I couldn’t sleep an eyeful. Then I thought I could hear the tap running, but I didn’t dare get up. It stopped soon enough, and I’m not sure if I actually heard it. Later it turned out I did.
  141. In the morning I went to search for signs from her. I believed she would have left a thank-you note near the plate, and was disappointed. The plate was gone.
  142. M search continued for a while, but I gave up and went to the kitchen for my usual breakfast. That’s when I discovered what I had been looking for outside.
  143. The plate was inside the cupboard, with the rest of my plates. The only reason I noticed it was that there was a note attached to it. This time the only picture was a big red heart. The text read “Konban?”
  144. The question mark confuses me. She is asking me a question. I need figure out what it means.
  145.  
  146. “Tonight?”
  147. This is something to ponder. She wants to meet tonight. How do I tell her yes or no? I have put some thought into this. Should I prepare another meal for her and just wait for her to come eat it. Then I could leave her a note with my answer. What would my answer be then? I hesitate to say yes. I guess I will. I’m going to scribble a note with the word konban repeated, but without a question mark. Seems straightforward enough. And I’m going to wait. Not in my room, there’s no viable escape route. I’ll wait in the kitchen.
  148. One thing that has been bothering me is the language barrier. There’s no way I can speak to her in Japanese, and there’s no way I’ll learn to speak it within the time I have. I wonder if she actually knows English. She should, right? She’s been living here for so long, she must’ve learned it. But why did she write in Japanese then? She has no reasons to believe I know Japanese. This is confusing.
  149. I have no other option. I will simply trust in her ability to speak – or at least UNDERSTAND – English. So as they say in Europe now, insallah.
  150.  
  151.  
  152. 7.
  153.  
  154. I write this in a great rush, before she wakes up. She. Nojiko. I don't have it in me to describe our initial encounter last night, my heart is too worn out to bear to recount it.
  155. She's asleep under my bed now. Last night I managed to convince her to leave her nest and come join me in my room. She refused to go anywhere but under my bed though, since the sheets cover her from view completely while she's there and this, I think, made her feel safe.
  156. Think about that. The girl needs to feel safe, and she only does so in a small, closed space. I don't know if this is some trauma or just her... species' natural quality. I can't imagine that the underside of my bed is particularly warm of comfortable, though it's still better than the hole I found her in.
  157.  
  158. Of course I couldn't just let her sleep on the naked floor, I'm not such a savage. At first I tried to coax her to come out from under there, but when she refused, I tried to give her a little speech about how I understood that she needed a place to feel safe in and that I wouldn't intrude. I don't know if that was a very convincing speech, but it was the best I could do, given the circumstances. It feels cheesy in retrospect.
  159. As she would not come out, it befell me, as her host, to make her comfortable where she was situated. I took the day covers from my own bed and slipped them to her, along with two pillows and another blanket. For some reason I felt compelled to say something to her as I did, and what else would I have done but speak in Moon?
  160. "Dozo" I said to her, as if I was fluent in it. Such a pretentious thing to do, a faux pas if there ever was one, and yet she took no offence to it.
  161. "Domo" she said, in such a tiny little voice, it just melts your heart into a puddle.
  162.  
  163. When I got under my own covers, I was encouraged by this to wish her good night in her own language as well.
  164. "Oyasumi" I mumbled, feeling like a fool again. All the more because she didn't reply. After the briefest little eternity had passed, her voice came out again.
  165. "Omae no te..."
  166. That is, "your hand". What is a man to make of such a request? She slipped out her hand from under the bed and reached out for mine, and of course I had to take her hand. Her frail, pale, clammy hand. Our fingers intertwined we lied there, and after a while I felt her grip relax as she fell asleep. I couldn't bring myself to release her hand though, and so I slept on my stomach and fells asleep with her hand in mine. The memory of this simply makes it too hard to keep writing any further.
  167.  
  168.  
  169. 8, A.
  170.  
  171. I waited for her in the kitchen that night, like I had promised. I could hear her coming long before I saw her. She must've been making noise on purpose so she wouldn't scare me by appearing suddenly.
  172. The sound was still unnerving. The slow scuttling of her feet against the hardwood panels... how to describe it? Like drops of water falling steadily. Or a loud clock, with the second hand ticking away towards my inevitable doom.
  173. She stopped in the dark. I had the lamp above the kitchen sink turned on but other than that there were no sources of light. Of course she hesitated to show up. When she finally did... oh, did my heart flutter.
  174. Her upper body emerged first, and she appeared perfectly, well, human, apart from her feelers. Her antennae. They, well, they're on her head and look silly more than frightening. They twitched nervously at every move she made, as if she were a mouse trying to sneak past sleeping cats on a creaky floor.
  175. Her hair was a mess. I could guess that she had tried to make it not a mess, but that crow's nest had not been washed or cut properly in ages. Her hair was all tangled and knotted up, reaching well past her shoulders.
  176. That wasn't the worst of it, oh no. She was pale as a shed Shirohebi skin. If I had seen her at any point before this, I'd have readily called her a ghost. But dirty and pale wasn't the worst of it either. She was skinny. Seeing her chitin part you couldn't really make much of a judgement on that, but her human part made it clear as day, she was malnourished. Her cheeks were hollow, her collarbones were sticking out.
  177. Right, her clothes. If you could call them that. She was wearing rags, three pieces wrapped up around her so they covered her up with some modesty. Most of what she was wearing had once been t-shirts though, and it wasn't some skilful tailoring that had gone into changing them into what they were now.
  178. And then she was there. Not saying anything. And I was staring. She began to shiver and fidget. Slowly I got up and prepared a seat for her. I had thought to offer her one chair, but that wouldn't work out, so I put the three of the four chairs at the table into a row to make a sort of bench for her, which was still too short. I found a stool for the end of her, her tail, or body, or whatever it is.
  179. Neither of us had spoken a single syllable all this time.
  180. I set the table for two. The spaghetti had to be reheated, of course, but it wasn't going to lose much flavour because of that. To try and make her feel more at ease, I muttered itadakimasu before digging in.
  181. She did not react to that, but dug in more ferociously than a girl her age should. Maybe it was her malnourishment and hunger. Or her being a centipede. Centipedes are that. Ferocious I mean.
  182.  
  183. Ah, she's waking up now. I'll get back to this account after breakfast.
  184.  
  185. 8, B.
  186.  
  187. We had toast and hot cocoa for breakfast. I don't think I've ever had hot cocoa when it wasn't the dead of winter.
  188. There's no use procrastinating, then. After we had eaten, that is, last night, not today, we sat in silence. She looked at me with a shy smile on her lips, hiding her eyes behind that mess that was her hair. Or maybe she wasn't trying to hide her eyes and it just happened naturally. I tried not to stare at her, and failed. We turned our heads away every time our eyes met.
  189. This went on for some time. I hadn't really prepared any desserts, but I couldn't think of anything else to do, so I dug out some strawberry flavoured ice cream. I still had half a box of it, so we split that.
  190. The girl was utterly confused at the sight of pink, cold stuff, but after she gave it a little lick, her face lit up and she dug in like a Wurm. Maybe. I've never actually seen a Wurm eat ice cream.
  191. "Is Cat-Auntie coming?" she asked out of the blue after licking her bowl clean.
  192. That was unexpected.
  193. "Cat-Auntie?" I asked, though I knew already who she meant. Neko obaa-san, Mrs. Stripes from next door.
  194. "Unf. Cat-Auntie is nice. As long as I can remember, she's always there" she said, nodding toward the window opening up to the side of her house.
  195. "People here, always go. People on other side, always go. But Cat-Auntie, always there"
  196. She nodded her head to the respective sides.
  197. "Always so scared to come out. Tried to, before. Others my age, children. They run away and scream, throw rocks. One hit bad. Headache for weeks"
  198. She was opening up, and surprisingly her English was nowhere near as bad as I had assumed.
  199. "Didn't want to bother anyone. So I got inside walls. Watched TV with families. Smelled the food, ate my own right there..." she pointed at one of the walls of the kitchen, "...when everyone else did, pretended I was eating the same they were. Really just bugs or mice and not-mice and fruit. Really hard to hunt like this"
  200. At this point, she lifted the end of her, her torso? Her tail? The centipede part. There was nothing really special to see there. Of course, that was the point. She was supposed to have pincers there.
  201. "Like this, can't really get much. Go hungry a lot. But being near good food, feels better. Inside walls is warm, too. Hahaha... back home, is cold. Sleep most winters, then wake up really, really hungry. Don't like that"
  202. I fully acknowledge I may not be recounting her words perfectly, but I'm certain that this is close enough to what was said. If anyone ever reads this, they should understand how she had been living up to that point.
  203. "But if I stay too long inside, people notice, then they try to get rid of me. So I have to go away. Cat-Auntie sometimes left pies outside. Don't know for who, but I ate them. Sorry"
  204. There were tears in her eyes now.
  205. "Sometimes, clothes in, in trash? I bring back home. To keep warm. And papers. I understand words. Don't understand what's happening anyway"
  206. Her speech was getting faster and louder now.
  207. "Sometimes, Cat-Auntie sits outside, she sings. To herself. But I listen. She might know I exist. Don't know. Too scared to show up. What if she acts like the others?"
  208. She was biting her lip now.
  209. "Then you move in. You're alone. Nobody else was alone before. I spent more time with you than with others before. You did lots of stuff. Like you were going to stay!" she let out a little giggle.
  210. "Maybe stay like Cat-Auntie? And then, Cat-Auntie show up, and then you make friends. Together. I... been so long. Alone I mean. So... maybe if... if you two, then, maybe me too?"
  211. At this point I didn't understand what she was saying anymore, and yet I couldn't open my mouth.
  212. "Don't remember mommy anymore. I used to. Had sisters too. And teeth" she lifted the end of her centipede part up again.
  213. "Now all I remember is living here. Too scared to go anywhere else. But can't stand it anymore. Too sad. Always alone, always hungry, always a little cold. Wanted to come out. Scary. Really scary..."
  214. Tears were running down her cheeks now.
  215. "But then you... wanted to. To see me."
  216. She stopped talking for a while, fidgeted a little and then looked me right in the eyes and said something I had to look up later to fully understand what she meant.
  217. "Aishiteru!"
  218.  
  219. 8, C.
  220.  
  221. The end of the events from that night gave me insight to things in hindsight I wish hadn't entered into my sight at all. I realize I repeated the some variation of "sight" within just a few words, and then hastened to add a third time for some reason I'm not quite clear on. That is how shaken I am.
  222. This, my third entry today, is being written around noon. The girl and I just returned from her little nest. First things first, what happened yesterday.
  223. She grew more fidgety after she had told me she loved me. At the time I didn't know she had said that, but as I looked it up on my phone earlier today. Can't say I was surprised at that point.
  224. In any case, she seemed to be anxious about something. Obviously she hadn't thought things through, she had no idea what to do now. She had eaten. Our arrangement had been about that, about a dinner date. She knew it was supposed to end now. And me? I had no idea what was going on in her head. I didn't know how to make things easier for her. Not then, anyway.
  225. "I should..." she said, and let out a little eep.
  226. By then I was extremely curious, if not frightened off my wits. I was quite convinced she wasn't dangerous to me. The fact that she had been here, with me, all this time, was a horrifying thought, but one that had lost its edge by now. What I wanted to see, more than anything, was this nest of hers, where she dwelled.
  227. And so I got up and told her I would escort her. How very gentlemanly of me. She gasped, causing me to back down a little. When she realized I wasn't planning on harming her in any way, her tense shoulders relaxed and she began to climb off of her chairs.
  228. Realizing the table had yet to be cleared, I asked her wait while I cleared it. Somehow I felt that this would, maybe, let both of us come to terms with the idea of me going with her to her nest.
  229. The dishes got a quick brushing under running water and into the cupboard they went. Why am I writing about such minute details? Because reliving those moments is unpleasant. I'm beating around the bush, aren't I? Focus.
  230. Like a true gentleman, I pulled her chairs away from the table and gestured for her to lead the way. She scuttled into the dark house, and I gave her quite a fright when I turned on the lights. She jumped in the air a little, even. I've never seen a startled centipede before, but I'm assuming they would look nothing like her. I promised to warn her beforehand from there on out.
  231. Her entrance into the house was in the laundry room. There was a hatch leading into the crawlspace beneath the house, the maintenance people used it, and so did she. Slightly less dramatic than I had assumed.
  232. There were no lights to turn on down there, so I asked her to wait while I got a flashlight. While looking for one, I wondered whether it was really a smart move to go down there. It was a dark, cramped space, and completely her territory as far as I was concerned. She could attack me. Though what was there to stop her from attacking me in the house? It's not like there was anyone there to stop her. Of course there was the possibility she needed my movements to be restricted to have a chance of overcoming me. Her pincers were gone, after all, and she wasn't a mass of muscle.
  233. By the time I had found the flashlight and walked back, I had warded off such thoughts. I didn't fear her. I had no reason to fear her. Down, down into the crawlspace I went.
  234. Once there, I discovered the entrances to her tunnels. Some went out into the yard, some led up into the house, naturally into the walls, and most of these were very small, big enough for her, of course, but if I had tried to squeeze in, my shoulders would've prevented passage. The hole leading to her nest was no different, I couldn't get in there, either. But I didn't need to. My flashlight illuminated it, and I was left with no doubts in my heart; I would not let her sleep here for another night.
  235.  
  236. The nest had been burrowed into the earth long ago. It was close enough to the pipes that brought heat into the house as to benefit from them some, but not so close as to be immediately discovered should someone show up to do maintenance, and indeed, the nest and the tunnels had gone undiscovered up to this point.
  237. On the inside the nest was filled with old clothes, and rags that had been old clothes. And there were reading materials. Old newspapers, magazines, comic books, trashy paperback romance novels, stuff she'd obtained from digging around the trash.
  238. I didn't explore it any more yesterday. She snuck in, then rummaged about for something, finally producing an old plastic bag with a logo so faded you could hardly tell it was there.
  239. From here, she pulled out a photograph.
  240. It was a picture of a family. A man who looked to be Japanese, a large centipede woman who looked quite different from the one with me, and their baby, a small centipede girl, all coiled up in her mother's arms. They looked rather happy.
  241. On the other side of the picture was some text written in a messy hand. A date and a year, and three names, a Mr, a Mrs, and a "their daughter". Each name had been circled, with a word connected to each by a line. "Otosan", "okaasan", and "watashi", respectively. The name marked with "watashi" was Nojiko.
  242. Nojiko. A Yellow Bunting, as I learned from the internet a little while later. Having seen this photo, I told her to come sleep in the house, and led her out of there.
  243.  
  244. 9.
  245.  
  246. Right then. As of writing this, I've passed my first day of communal living with Nojiko. Things have gone well. After handling her breakfast, I thought it would be for the best to move whatever personal effect she had from that nest of hers up to the house proper, since I had no intention of letting her spend another night down there. She became flustered when I told her of this. Apparently she hadn't quite expected to be welcomed so completely. I felt kind of sad at that, but I still smiled. There was a childish glee in her when she realized she was getting a proper home. If only I had put more thought into WHERE she'd end up.
  247. In any case, I went down there with her again, nowhere near as nervous as I had been the night before, despite the crawlspace being just as dark. The amount of junk she had in her nest required several trips for both of us, since it's a difficult task to carry anything while crawling. For me, anyway. Nojiko was used to it. Of course she was. We carried everything that was in there to the laundry room so it could be sorted out later. At this point I feel like I should get something off my chest though. The nest and the rags and clothes in there had this... odour. You would expect that clothing that had never been properly washed would smell quite rank and unpleasant, but I feel compelled to admit, to confess, that I quite liked it. The scent was that of a woman. I can't put it in any other words. This is an awful thing to admit, but as I carried some of those bundles out of the nest and they were so close to my face, I breathed in much deeper than I really had to, just to savour the aroma. I can't even begin to imagine how Nojiko would feel if she knew about that. I don't want her to think that the one person she has been able to connect with would intend to do something to her. And I don't. It's just an intoxicating scent. There's nothing lewd about this. And it's not like I'm going to be sniffing her dirty clothes anyway, I stuck as much of it as I could fit in the laundry machine, and the rest in baskets. As of this writing, I've done two machinefuls. One more to go.
  248.  
  249. Putting that aside though, her personal effects did include, as I've previously mentioned, a number of magazines, newspapers and most of all, drawings. At first I assumed she had been doodling in the dark, but that would be silly. It's not like she can see in the pitch-black gloom of her underground nest anyway. Which meant she couldn't really read down there either.
  250. "Nojiko, where do you go to draw and read?" I asked her, since it bothered me.
  251. "Nowhere" she said with a shrug. And as it turned out, she has no trouble with the darkness down there. It's the light of day that was a problem.
  252. The lamps caused her obvious discomfort and unease, but that was nothing compared to the light of day. She seemed intimidated by the amount of luminosity in the room when we got up, and refused to leave the safety of the relative gloom under the bed. I closed the shades, and this eased her anxiety, but it was not enough. I think I should go get more curtains for the windows, like I close the shades, and then pull curtains to cover them. That'll do it.
  253.  
  254. Other problems did present themselves as well. First of all there's something relating to what I alluded to earlier, her... scent. Whenever she's close enough to me for me to smell her, I get a little... off my game. I looked it up online and there's no mention on Wikipedia about Oomukade pheromones being an aphrodisiac, so this is all on me. I'd best not dwell on it too much. The point is that I need to get her washed up. But can I have a girl who's part centipede take a bath? And if that wouldn't work, then there's the shower. But can I just tell a girl to go take a shower because her scent makes me hot and bothered?
  255. Her hygiene has other issues as well. I have no idea how she... relieves herself. My toilet is not designed for use by anything vastly different from a human. She doesn't look to have a... well, an ass. So I can only assume she has just one hole, like a Lamia does. A cloaca. So I should get a toilet that can handle a Lamia. But until then? Where has she been doing it until now? Probably somewhere underground. How am I supposed to ask a girl about something like this?
  256. The last bit about her hygiene that has become an issue for me is dental. She has never owned a toothbrush or toothpaste. I have to get her to a dentist. Now how am I going to get a girl like her to a dentist?
  257.  
  258. 10, A.
  259.  
  260. Nojiko's appetite is a thing to behold. I suppose one as skinny as her would find herself hungry quite often. I was bothered by her unbecoming clothing and took advantage of some sales to go clothes shopping. I had no gall to buy her undergarments of any kind - I mean, she didn't have much of a, I mean do Lamias wear panties anyway? If not, why would she? And she probably has A-cup breasts but... I was still uncomfortable buying a bra. I turned myself to what she should wear. A dress? Considering her build she would need clothing that reached down to below her, well, shameful bits. Then I thought about the upcoming weather and decided it would be more appropriate to get her a hoodie.
  261. In the end I bought her three discount t-shirts (Wurm Wrangler, Sumo Jinko and Waifu Souls) and two hoodies, one a dark green, one a dark blue. I don't think either counts as a gang colour in these parts.
  262. Coming back home I discovered she had been a little anxious. Apparently, she doesn't handle being left alone too well now that she's managed to make contact with someone. She actually came up to me and hugged me to welcome me back. Her scent is still intoxicating. It remained intoxicating even after I gave her the new, proper clothes. She accepted them happily, and praised the softness and warmth. She looked quite funny wearing her hoodie in-doors, hood pulled over her head and her feelers sticking out from under it. Good thing they were big enough to cover her up.
  263.  
  264. The issue of her bathroom habits have been resolved, and with no interference from me. To my delight, her chitinous parts don't weigh anywhere near as much as the meaty snake bits of a Lamia, and therefore it didn't become necessary to replace my toilet with a custom one. She has been able to use it without any trouble or complaints.
  265. This leaves some concern for me though. I purchased her a toothbrush, but... she didn't use it right. She tried to use it as a hairbrush initially, something she sorely needed with her matted up head of... tangles, but... no. I don't think she even knows how the thing works. I tried to explain it to her, and she seemed to take the idea as intrusive. She mumbled something about not wanting sticks in her mouth. I assured her that she needed to brush her teeth.
  266. "But there's no hair in my mouth!" she protested. I'm sure she knew better, and I worried that she may have had some painful cavities in her mouth that made her so wary of this thing.
  267. I explained to her about toothbrush, showed her myself by brushing my own teeth. She giggled. I asked her why, and this is what she said:
  268. "You put a stick in your mouth and white stuff comes out of it! Hahahahah!"
  269. Now what am I supposed to say to that? I laughed too. But in my defence I can say that I didn't swallow.
  270.  
  271. After the giggling fit was over, I tried to explain to her what would happen to her if she didn't brush, but my scare tactics kind of failed considering she still had her teeth and she saw no reason to believe she'd suddenly lose them. So I gave her a horror story about dentists and the bright lights and the drills and stuff. She coiled up and hid her face under her tail - I suppose you could call it a tail - and asked me not to take her there, shutting her hood the same way Kenny sometimes does in South Park when he's scared. I told her she had to brush. She still shook her head. What a pain that was.
  272. In the end I took her by the shoulders and helped her up, brought her to the sink, put the paste on the brush and asked her to open up so I could do it. I then held her head with one arm so she was facing the mirror and began cleaning her teeth with gentle, slow motions. I didn't want to upset her. I checked the clock on my phone to make sure I got the two minutes down exactly, didn't want to prolong this unnecessarily, but didn't want her to think she could take shortcuts when it came to dental hygiene. I was especially through with her molars, but when I got in that deep she gagged a little. Poor thing, Nojiko's gag-reflex is so strong even a toothbrush was too much for her. What's more she tilted her head back to rest against me, sending the foam running down her throat instead of spitting it out as it filled her mouth. With a vacant expression she looked into the mirror, unable to turn her head way since I held it tightly. I guess you could say it was tough love.
  273. I picked up the pace, applying more force. Of course I did, couldn't have her think she could clean her teeth with just a little caressing. But I knew better than to use too much force, this was a new brush and I wanted it to last. I whispered as much to her, so she would learn. She nodded weakly, almost swallowing the stuff in her mouth, but I told her not to. I may have used too much paste since the foam was seriously starting to make its way out of her mouth now, making it look like she was foaming at the mouth. Brave girl fought back her gagging reflex well.
  274. Finally came the moment of release, I pulled the brush from her mouth and told her she could spit in the sink. She obeyed gladly. I then proceeded to rinse the brush and hand her the water to rinse her mouth. Lastly I placed the brush in the cup and turned her around to face me.
  275. "You need to do this twice a day, morning and evening" I told her.
  276. "H-hai..."
  277. And this evening we stood next to one another, brushing together, but by ourselves. I'm proud of her. I'm less proud of the arousal I experienced while being in control as I taught her how to do it. I worry I may be a sexual deviant. Was it the fact that I was dominating her, the scent of her, or both? I don't know. I need to get her washed clean as soon as possible. I need to be firm. For her own good.
  278.  
  279. 10, B.
  280.  
  281. I decided that, for Nojiko's own good, it would be best to get her good and clean. There's no point to her changing into clean clothes if she herself remains a dirty girl. When I suggested taking a shower to her she was initially confused. And then, when I showed her how it worked, she scuttled all the way back under the bed into her nest. She was hit by a spray of cold water, and that turned her off the idea of using the shower. Moreover I couldn't be certain that she'd be able to properly attend to her hair and all the tangles in it, so I began to prepare something different for that.
  282. I had no clue if the bathtub would work out for her, since I'd heard rumours that getting submerged caused insect types and arachnids to get shortness of breath, and I didn't want to make washing up a traumatic experience for her. In the end I decided to fill it up with enough water for her underbelly and little legs to soak in. I had a bunch of bath salts I had never used so I poured some in just for kicks.  Now all I would need to do is get her in the tub and scrub her clean.
  283. "But I'd be naked!" she protested, her face all red, covering her hidden bosom with her arms. I told her that so would I be, but that didn't help at all.
  284. "Baka! Ecchi! Hentai!" she said, throwing crayons at me. She didn't protest all that hard though, and ended up consenting to it. I suppose her resistance stemmed from her simply being surprised, rather than opposed to the idea itself.
  285. To make things less troublesome for her I covered my loins with a towel and handed her one to wear until she got into the tub so I only saw her naked from behind. This was agreeable to her, and when she was in the tub, her little legs wiggling in the water, her centipede body almost doubled over, she handed me the towel and... I found myself staring at her back for a while. Her skin was so pale... she was like the girls in all the Vampire porn I used to watch in middle-school.
  286. I was faced with a tough decision, and I must say that it should reflect well on my character that I chose what I chose. Nojiko's scent was strong in my nostrils, her body exposed before me, a prominent bulge visible through my towel... and I didn't take advantage of her. That musk had to go. For my sake, as well as hers. Especially hers.
  287.  
  288. I filled a bucket with warm water and moistened up a sponge. Nojiko looked at it nervously, but saw it wasn't a dangerous thing. I took her by the forearm and gently guided her into extending her arm to the side so I could begin to scrub her. She shivered a little when I moved that sponge to and fro on her arm, turning it around to better see what I was working on. Then, as I lifted her arm up to go for her armpit, a shocking revelation struck me. She had hairy armpits. Not the big and bushy kind of hairy, but hairy anyway. It was a rare thing to see a girl with hairy armpits nowadays. At least in the porn I watch it's rare. Somehow it made her more... I'm reluctant to say human, since she isn't, but it made her more humane, somehow. More real, less of a fantasy. I suppose.
  289. Now I must say in my defence that I am but a human myself. If this is ever read by anyone, do not judge me too harshly for bringing my face closer for a sniff. Her smell was at its strongest there, and while it still lingered, I wanted it. She stiffened up when that happened, but didn't try to stop me. I hope she doesn't think too badly of me now.
  290. To scrub her armpit was the next part, and I ran the sponge along her side as well. She let out a little sound at that. Maybe she was ticklish. No, she IS ticklish. This was amply proven as the process went on.
  291. In any case, I used a bar of soap to clean her rather than the stuff in a bottle I used myself. There was a lemony scent to that bar, and I felt a sense of loss when I replaced her pleasant, intoxicating aroma with that blandness.
  292. Then it was time for her other arm and armpit. The same process happened, and she let out stifled giggles. Then it was Nojiko's back, with the protruding spine. She let out more tiny noises when I scrubbed her back, and I didn't do it anywhere near as gently as I maybe should have, but she seemed to enjoy it.
  293. By the time that was finished, the water had begun to take on a dark grey colour. She'd been dirty alright. Really dirty.
  294.  
  295. Scrubbing the front of a girl wasn't something that I could do without falling to sin, so I handed her the sponge and asked her to do her front on her own. By that point she had a good idea on what to do, and I could get to work on her hair.
  296. The first step was pouring water on her. I made sure it was warm, and let it slowly fall on her. Looking into a mirror I though myself to be like one of those fountain-statues. Maybe less fit.
  297. The second step was shampoo. I held her head back to make sure it didn't get into her eyes and rubbed the stuff into her for a long time. She had a lot of hair, a lot of dirty hair, and I wanted to get the cleaning agents nice and deep in there. I left it in for a while and just... hummed. I don't know why. I didn't even have a tune in mind. I just hummed. And the worst part? She started to hum along, and her antennae twitched and... oh, it felt like... like... it was nice.
  298. I poured more water on her head and began washing the stuff off of her hair. This took two buckets.
  299. Nojiko let out a sigh after that.
  300. "Is it over?" she asked me. And I whispered "No". There was still something left to do.
  301. The Oomukade's hair was full of tangles and matted hair, as I've described. That would end now. I had no brush to use on her, but a comb and a pair of scissors would do. I combed away, and when I met too much resistance to get through, it was time to cut that part off. A couple times my hand yanked too hard and she let out small yelps but she didn't try to resist. By the time her hair was all cleared up, it barely reached below her ears. Lastly I poured another bucket of water on her, and then it was over. She took the towel I handed her eagerly, got out of the tub quickly and scuttled away quickly, leaving a wet trail behind her.
  302. At least that was done now. I pulled the plug out of the tub and let it drain. All that I had to clean up now was the hair I'd cut. And... well. I don't know why I kept it all. It's not unusual to keep a lock of a girl's hair, but this much? And it didn't even smell like her. But there it was. I took it all and put it temporarily in a plastic back. I'd figure something out later. A memento should be well preserved, right?
  303.  
  304. 11, A.
  305.  
  306. To my surprise, my neighbour showed up today. The doorbell rang, Nojiko freaked out and rushed to hide under the bed and I went to open the door, and who did I find other than Sunshine Stripes. The situation was awkward, to say the least. She dropped by because she wanted to chit-chat over coffee and bake some buns if I was up for it - she brought a basketful of ingredients even - and she wasn't taking no for an answer, her tail making figure-eights in the air as she purred quietly and strutted into my kitchen. What was I supposed to do?
  307. "Mrs. Stripes, I-" was my first attempt, but she shot it down.
  308. "Call me Sunshine, I don't want to feel like an auntie or a grandma now!" she rebuked me.
  309. "Sunshine, I have some company over" was my second attempt, and she crossed her arms after putting on her apron - yes, she had brought one over, it said "Kiss the cook" - and asked me why there hadn't been anyone else's shoes at the door then. I was left with no real choice. I asked her to wait and went to lure Nojiko out from under the bed. That was easier said than done. She was not ready to meet anyone but me. Explaining to her that her "neko obaa-san" was here got her to poke her antennae out from under the bed, but elicited no verbal response. The antennae twitched when she was told about the baking about to ensue. Nojiko had yearned for such things for years, after all.
  310. "Demo... what if she hates me?" she asked.
  311. "She won't"
  312. Twitch. The antennae pulled back, and there was some shuffling under the bed. I admit to almost losing hope, but she did come out and reached her hand out to be held. Hand in hand we returned to the kitchen, Nojiko hiding under her hood again.
  313.  
  314. The first thing that happened in the kitchen was that Nojiko let out a little whine, as the sunlight was pouring in.
  315. "Young man like you shouldn't keep the shades shut like that, you'll get a vitamin-D deficiency!" Sunshine scolded me while turning around. Seeing Nojiko, her face was stuck in one expression for a bit as she took in the sight and smell of the new girl, and then her face lit up in a smile that lived up to her name.
  316. "Well hello there! Who's this little lady? A little hung over, maybe? You two had a wild night?"
  317.  
  318. Before I attempt to use the inadequacy of words to describe the myriad of emotions this statement caused in me and must have caused in Nojiko, the girl gripped my hand with all her might, and let out a tiny little snigger, barely audible.
  319. Sunshine Stripes, who I cannot yet think of as anyone but Mrs. Stripes, is old enough to be my grandmother. Having her say such things makes me uncomfortable to say the least. I don't think I've put much effort into describing her yet, but I feel it would help clear my head a little. Mrs. Stripes had been quite an athlete in her younger days. Of course, being a feline woman, she had some natural advantages over humans when it came to agility and strength and, from what my experiences with porn have taught me, FLEXIBILITY (just thinking about her doing THAT to herself gets me hard, and I admit it), and I would have to be blind not to see that in her still. Her hair may be grey and her face may have wrinkles, but when she took off the coat of her purple tracksuit, she had a tank top underneath it, and what struck me first was not her ample bosom (big fat cat tats and no bra, is that even legal?) but her muscles. She's not buff in the way those fitness Onis are, but I could see muscles in places I'm not sure I even have. Did I mention she wears no bra? Well, at least she put on an apron. That helped with the front. But not with the back. Her behind was as perky as ever, with her tail bushy and lively. Fluffy tails always confused and aroused me. I don't know why.
  320. In any case, there she was. A woman long past her prime, still in her prime, so to speak. Talking dirty. Getting ready to bake for me. And here I was, with an orphaned, lonely Oomukade holding my hand, and she was embarrassed, but happy. HAPPY! Can you believe that? Nojiko liked what she was hearing. What am I to make of that then? Only one thing that I can think of. She's a lecherous girl. I suppose it's only natural, what with her being a Monster and all. And that her lewd thoughts are directed towards me. Better not dwell on it.
  321.  
  322. After asking Sunshine to block the sunshine and Nojiko was no longer bothered by it, I introduced them to one another.
  323. "A pleasure" Mrs. Stripes said happily, adopting a motherly disposition towards the Oomukade she had never even met before.
  324. "Yoroshiku" replied Nojiko, giving a little bow with her upper body.
  325. "Ooh? I thought you had a Japanese name! Did you two meet on one of those dating sites? One of my granddaughters is on that Human Boy General all the time! Ufufufu~"
  326. "Ah, no, we met by chance... or by, uhh, what is unmei... fate?" Nojiko replied. My Nojiko, the shy, meek Oomukade who had been living her life in the walls of or under the house, was having a conversation with this vixen! Two women who made me feel strange things, having a casual talk, about me, about our relationship! I was weak at the knees.
  327. "Well then, let's put some buns in the oven!" said Mrs. Stripes, and my grip on Nojiko tightened in turn.
  328.  
  329. 11, B.
  330.  
  331. I must admit, I was shocked and awed by what transpired earlier on. To my surprise, as soon as Mrs. Stripes began preparing the, I'm going to call if 'stuff' because 'equipment' sounds silly, well, in any case, as soon as she began preparing the stuff required to do some baking, Nojiko scuttled into the kitchen and began to... I don't know how to put it, hover about? Not literally, of course, she can't do that. But I mean to say that she was all over the place, scurrying out of the way whenever Mrs. Stripes turned or moved, but always present, her antennae poking out and about, her eyes aglow with curiosity. She wasn't afraid at all. Soon enough the two of them began to chat about what 'they' were going to make. The temptation to say that the hens were clucking is high. Well will you look at that, I actually did write it.
  332. In any case, the two of them became convinced they wanted to make some garlic bread, and naturally this required ingredients I simply did not have, so they decided to make a batch of cookies while I went shopping. I have no idea how it came to be that ME going out was such an obvious thing that it required no further discussion, but I had no choice, did I? Off to the store I went, on a bus.
  333. Why am I writing about the bus? Because my conscience is filling me with feelings of guilt. It's a silly thing, of course, since I'm not in a relationship, so to lust after others is really no problem, is it? Or maybe I feel bad because I may have offended the girls I... ahh, to hell with it, I have done no wrong! But I'm still assailed by guilt. I am a man. A healthy man. A young man. A healthy, young man. I have needs. Society understands this, it has understood it especially well since the emancipation of Elves began us on the long road to equality between all species of sapient beings. Oh hey, I'm waxing philosophical to try and get out of this confession, when this confession is the reason I'm writing in the first place.
  334. When I entered the bus, I chose my spot directed by my sense of aesthetics. By which I mean I sat behind a hot girl. Not even a human, mind you, but a Troll. I could tell immediately when I saw her, the pointy ears, the full figure, the tail with a little tuft at the end... though this was not the Troll of the old musicals, singing under her bridge and wearing a modest dress and an apron, cooking stew for lost little boys, oh no, this particular Troll was... a metalhead. Or perhaps a punk rock fan. I'm not too much into that whole scene, but I could tell right away that this lady was a part of it. A leather jacket with studs on it, black jeans that may or may not have ripped because they were too small for her meaty body, or perhaps it was a fashion statement, leather boots reaching a little below her knees... and I managed to spy a t-shirt that said MetalMorphosis. Even I know that band. The logo is immediately recognizable because back in the day they performed at the Vatican Wall and broke it down as a protest. Why am I writing this? Everyone, literally everyone, knows what happened. The Troll is who I'm supposed to be writing about. The tuft at the end of her tail was dyed a bright crimson. Her hair was done in several colours as well, including purple, pink, and green. As is common for Trolls, plants grew on her head. This one had different colour schemes for the plants on her head based on what colour her hair was where they grew. That was clever.
  335. I must say in my own defence that the bus was rather full, so going for the two empty seats behind the Troll wasn't going out of my way to get close to her.
  336. But close to her I got. And as the bus rolled along, I found myself getting more and more liberal in the glances I stole at her. Have you ever noticed how the bus window reflects the face of the person sitting in front of you, so you can almost see her face? Perhaps not. But I certainly did. This Troll was so devoted to listening to whatever it was her earplugs blasted into her ears that she didn't pay no heed to me. At least I certainly hope so. I didn't want to be a bother.
  337. I suppose there's no point in prolonging this any further. I didn't take an interest in this Troll because of her looks, as pleasant as they were. No, I was directed by the needs of another organ. You would think it was my penis, but it wasn't. It was my nose. Yes. I wanted to SMELL her. I understand this makes me some kind of deviant, maybe like that one guy in that movie who was a serial killer who tried to make perfume out of redheads. But I couldn't help myself. Those flowers in her hair? It was irresistible. If I had been raised in a more religious household - and by religious, I mean one of the traditionally HUMAN religions - I might have tried to tell myself that it was the flowers I wanted to smell. But they were just the cherry on the proverbial cake. Oh no, it wasn't the bukee of flowers I cared for. It was the musk of the woman beneath them I yearned for. I blame Nojiko for this. Never, no, not ever, did I take an interest in smells before meeting her and smelling her. This isn't me. Or it wasn't, in any case. And it shouldn't. It's wrong, it's perverted. Or not. I'm not perverted. It's not like I popped a boner because of the Troll's smell, it was the vibration of the bus that did it. It always happens to me.
  338. The problem, of course, was how to smell her. I couldn't simply reach over and take a whiff, oh no, that would be socially unacceptable and would end up with me getting caught. I wracked my brain for a solution. A more experienced molester would have figured this out right away, but it took me quite a while to realize, that whenever the bus slowed down and came to a halt, people moved forward in their seats. Now the Troll had her feet pushing against the floor to keep her firmly in place, so this didn't affect her, meaning she wouldn't be moving from place while I would. This meant I could, under the guise of this movement, get closer to her than the bus actually would throw me, without arousing any suspicions. I'm well on my way to a prison sentence as a sex offender!
  339. My courage failed me though, and I didn't do it. Ah, but then! It was my stop, all hope had failed, right? No! The night is darkest just before the dawn, and he who dares, wins! I got up and as I did, I leaned down and inhaled quickly.
  340. Disappointed! I walked out of the bus with butterflies in my stomach, but without feeling fulfilled in any way. She didn't smell bad. Quite pleasant, actually, as girls tend to do. But there wasn't even a hint of the euphoric feeling Nojiko's scent gave me. It just wasn't the same. The mere fact that I tried to get my kicks in this manner goes to show what a base man I am. I need to learn some self control in the future.
  341.  
  342. I returned back home after my shopping, and this time there was no incident on the bus, praise be to Ammy. Back in the house, I learned the ladies had devoured all the cookies they had prepared, and there wasn't a hint of guilt on their faces. In fact, I believe the two both had an impish glint in their eyes. Mrs. Stripes might become a bad influence on Nojiko.
  343. I grow weary of this record, but there is one last thing I must mention, as it is another thing that has caused a spirit of PERVERSENESS to overcome me. Once the garlic bread was removed from the oven and presented, Nojiko was downright impressed with their... size. A baguette tends to be big and long, of course, and Mrs. Stripes had seen fit to make two for the three of us. She herself said she'd make do with a half, and so I agreed to take the other half, while Nojiko would eat one on her own. Of course Mrs. Stripes didn't know what a hungry little thing his centipede woman was, or if she did, not the reason, at least, but she had no complaints, as the girl was drooling - yes, she was drooling - at the sight of the thing. And then she opened her mouth and spoke.
  344. "It's so big! So thick and so long! It's going to fill me up!" she said excitedly, grabbing the  thing with both hands.
  345. "A-atsui!" she complained, but didn't let go, rather, she bit down and took a mouthful, and was greeted with the hot, almost liquid contents, the garlic butter that filled the insides of the bread.
  346. "Ooh, it's so thick and tasty~ Umaaiii~!" she moaned, her antennae twitching.
  347.  
  348. It is these words that I'm coming back to now, in the bathroom where I'm writing this. Her words were said in complete innocence, she meant nothing by them, I'm sure. And yet here I am. I am the worst. The worst.
  349.  
  350. 12, A.
  351.  
  352. There was trouble today. I was making breakfast as usual, but there was no sound of little chitinous legs scuttling to the scent of bacon and toast. I called out to her, but still no scuttles. Seeing as I sleep on top of her - that is, she sleeps under my bed, as I've written before - I should have known if there was anything wrong with her. But our morning routines don't go in tandem. For me, it's to the bathroom to relieve myself and brush my teeth before heading to the kitchen, and while I'm gone from the bedroom, she gets dressed and then tends to her hygiene before joining me at the breakfast table. Not so this time.
  353. I headed to our bedroom then, to see if she'd simply overslept.
  354. "Nojiko?" I called as I entered my own bedroom hesitantly, knocking on the doorframe. There was a slight movement of the sheets, her feelers most likely brushing them, and something barely audible was heard.
  355. "What was that?", that was of course my question, as I thought she'd said something.
  356. "Nothing... I just made a little sound"
  357. Where was I supposed to go from there? Informing her that breakfast was ready, that was the next step, of course, but then she said she wasn't hungry. What am I to make of that? Her? Not hungry? A starved centipede creature that has only recently been exposed to proper food, not hungry? I've seen the way she eats. She's always hungry. I tried to convince her to come out from under the bed, because it was awkward talking to her like this.
  358. "Can't. Indecent" she said.
  359. "Then get dressed"
  360. "I meant indisposed"
  361. Then there was a ripping sound, followed immediately by a sharp gasp from her.
  362. "What was that?"
  363. "Mhohing" she said, obviously chewing on something.
  364.  
  365. Had I been a more practically minded man, I'd have checked the internet and figured everything out then and there, before fumbling about. But no.
  366. "Nojiko, come out"
  367. "No"
  368. "What are you eating?"
  369. "Not eating"
  370. "You were just eating something"
  371. "Was not"
  372. "Was too!"
  373. "Don't yell..."
  374. "Sorry"
  375. And then I was at an impasse again. She was clearly not coming out, and she was clearly hiding something from me. And so I did what no rational man would do, got down on the ground and crawled until I got my head stuck under the bed. The stuffy smell of her sleepy body overwhelmed be immediately, and I knew then I had made a mistake. An awful, yet wonderful mistake. Can it really be considered a mistake then? Aaahhh, I digress.
  376. It was dark under there, of course, since the shades and curtains in my bedroom were permanently shut, as I've said before, and thus it was hard to make out anything. Make out as in see, not... yes.
  377.  
  378. My intrusion into her new nest was disagreeable to Nojiko, who cried out, practically shrieked. She was indeed indecent, having tossed aside the covers and wearing nothing. Her form had grown fuller since the time I bathed her, and as my eyes - for some reason unnaturally quickly - adjusted to the gloom, I noticed beads of sweat running down her sides and from below her still modest breasts. But that was not the important thing. That beautiful vision and that wonderful scent, oh no. Those were not what I was there for. No. She was indecent, for certain, but she had not lied when she'd said she was indisposed. The lower part of her body was covered in something greyish white. Of course I knew what it was, or I would have, if I'd had my head on straight. But I didn't, and so it didn't quite dawn on me that a creature that had so many human bits on her would need to molt.
  379.  
  380. 12, B.
  381.  
  382. In summation: the ripping noise and the suspicious munching I'd heard had been her removing and eating her old skin. Or carapace. Or whatever I should call it. Exoskeleton?
  383. Nojiko had molted every now and again in her life, because despite the malnutrition and hunger, she'd still managed to grow some. She'd always eaten the old, old coating? She'd eaten it so as not to waste anything. And now, in the brief time she'd spent here with me, she'd been stuffing herself in an unprecedented manner, and her Oomukade metabolism had gotten her to grow out quickly. Not just the centipede parts, but as I observed, also her human bits. To call her frame healthy would be too premature, but calling HER body premature would be incorrect as well. Immature. Not premature. How silly of me. I'm just trying to avoid the fact that I enjoyed what I saw. I'm awful.
  384.  
  385. My awfulness aside, something had to be done about her. Nojiko whined about me being mean for coming in without permission - another innuendo she did unintentionally, the poor thing - and after I hesitantly pulled out - my head, that is - I tried to ask her if she was really okay and if she needed any help.
  386. "Couple days" she mumbled.
  387. "What?"
  388. "Gonna be couple days"
  389. And that is what convinced me something had to be done. About her. Yes. At this point I should have gotten on the internet to check out how molting works, but I had no need to, after all, because I had read in my childhood a certain manga, and knew exactly what to do about a girl who was changing her skin!
  390. I went to draw a hot bath. That's how it was done there. All I need to do is get that dirty, sweaty and smelly body of hers into the hot water, then gently peel off the old skin, or whatnot, and wash her hair while I'm at it. Yes. I didn't put any bubbles or foam into this bath, oh no. I would have to see what I was doing if I was to help her.
  391. Off with my clothes, a towel around my waist, and I returned to the bedroom to get Nojiko to come on out. My silver tongue and animal magnetism allowed me to persuade her.
  392. "Come on out Nojiko, let's go take a bath"
  393. "Nah..."
  394. "Come on..."
  395. "N-nah..."
  396. "Oh come on!"
  397. "N-naaaah..."
  398. "Ooooh cooomeee oooon!"
  399. "O-okay..."
  400. And out she scuttled. The white coating on her lower body didn't look very appealing, I must say. I'd be glad to help her get rid of it.
  401.  
  402. "O..oooh...oooohhhhhhh~" she moaned, lowering her bottom into the hot water. "Atsui~"
  403. The heat gave her upper body goosebumps. It's funny how that works, how the body reacts as if it was cold when it's the opposite.
  404. "A-are you coming?" she asked, twitching her antennae.
  405. "Sure..."
  406. Water displacement worried me a little when I got in, she was a big girl after all, so adding me to the mix might cause some flooding.
  407. It did, with a splash, and Nojiko giggled about it. Fooling around in water was, after all, a new experience for her, and anybody would enjoy it anyway.
  408. "S-so..." I began, and she stared at me with dopey eyes, flushed cheeks and wobbly antennae, not even trying to use her hands to cover her chest or crotch. Can you call it a crotch when there's no legs? No. Her nether regions.
  409. "So?" she asked happily. And I thought she was so shy and introverted. To prove me wrong in that even further, she leaned her body backwards, her arms on the sides of the tub, her head over the side, opening herself up even more, her slightly grown breasts heaving with her breathing. Was she showing them off because she was proud? That was very much a possibility, considering she had just recently been exposed to the big, fat cat tats of my buxom neighbour. OUR buxom neighbour.
  410. And the thought of Mrs. Stripes of course was what pushed me over the edge, so to speak, and I felt a familiar pressure in my member. I dared not look down on it, and I had to hurry and act. All she had to do was lift her head up, and she'd be greeted with something awful. I can't begin to imagine what a sweet, innocent girl like her would have thought if she saw my erect dick. I'm sure she'd run all the way back to her old nest in the crawlspace and never come out again.
  411.  
  412. 12, C.
  413.  
  414. "Can you turn on your tummy?" I asked, keeping my hands at my crotch. She moaned in the affirmative and slowly turned around without lifting her head, and thus my dignity was saved. I took a moment to admire the contrast between her dark hair and pale back, and then found my gropy, wandering hands at her waist.
  415. "Mhm, that's..." she protested.
  416. "Sorry..."
  417. "No, I, you need to..."
  418. Indeed I did need to. The skin that needed to come off began at her waist, after all, where her soft, human bits ended. There was a little red rash circling her waist around where she'd started to peel it off by herself. I hadn't noticed that before. A lotion would have to be applied there later on. But now it was crucial to get the peeling started properly, she'd ripped bits and pieces off, but her old skin was still attached to her human bits in some places. I thoughtlessly grabbed a piece, and started to slowly remove it, like I did with bandages.
  419. It turned out that just like with bandages, ripping it out quickly would have been preferable.
  420. "U-uu-uuhhhh~" she whined.
  421. "Does it hurt?"
  422. "Yes!"
  423. "Umm, okay, what if I did this?" I asked, and then ripped off a patch of it in one, quick movement.
  424. "Hiii~!"
  425. She arched her back and went rigid, but quickly relaxed afterwards. Even more red rash appeared where her human bits met her carapace.
  426. I looked at the piece of skin I'd ripped off. Not long ago this thing had been a living part of her. And now it was just a dried up piece of dead tissue. It was basically no different from dandruff. And she'd been eating these? I gave it a lick. It didn't taste like anything, other than the stuff I'd put into the bathwater. Maybe the flavours were sealed inside? I nibbled at the corner, and my teeth made crunching sounds, sounds she heard, and then I realized I had made a mistake.
  427. "Don't eat it" she said, without turning to look at me. She didn't need to, her antennae were pointed toward me.
  428. Self-loathing. There should be a limit to how much of it one person can feel. I'm certain I passed that limit. This must be how it feels when a middle-aged man sneaks into the locker room of a Sabbath cheerleader squad, removed his clothes, dressed up in their underwear with panties on his head and then pretends to be a magical girl while masturbating, is caught on the hidden security camera, becomes an internet phenomenon, and then gets promoted by his Succubus boss for it. But I digress.
  429.  
  430. Throwing the piece of skin out of the tub, I got back to work. The skin was clearly tightly attached to her at the waist, and to open it up there would require some work. I decided that it was better not to rush things and let the hot water do its thing, whatever thing it did was, and then I began to massage her midriff, starting at the back and moving to the sides. Her hips were ticklish, I found, as she shivered and let out stifled giggles. But I kept going regardless, and as my fingers dug into her old skin, I found it did, in fact, loosen. That's what we needed, it had to loosen up so I could peel off larger swaths of the stuff at once. It's like peeling an orange you just took out of the fridge, if I had to find something to describe it. Only an orange wouldn't be warm and soft in this manner. Or have this scent. Or make noises like this.
  431. Swallowing I grabbed the edges of the flaky, torn skin and holding my breath I pulled on them, both hands at once, and ripped off two strips the length of my arm.
  432. "HHIIIII~!" Nojiko yelped, arching her back again, almost throwing her head backwards.
  433. "Are you okay?"
  434. "Uh-huh" she answered, her shoulders shivering.
  435. "Is it... always this bad?"
  436. "Used to be worse. Always did it slow, it hurt a lot more" she replied.
  437. Well, at least I was helping her for real here.
  438. "I'll keep going then, so... buck up?"
  439. "Huh?"
  440. "Grit and bear"
  441. "Wakarimasen"
  442. "I mean, you know, try to endure it"
  443. "Hmm"
  444. "Okay, here I go..."
  445. "HIIYIAAAH~!"
  446.  
  447. It went on like that for a while, but then I got the skin loosened off of her without peeling it, and then it became a simple matter of helping her legs out of their "socks" as I pulled it off, like it was a sleeping bag or something. The rocky start had been painful for her, but now it was over and I threw the mostly whole skin over the side of the tub and stared at it. It was a pretty impressive piece of work, really.
  448. Nojiko tried to leave the tub now that this was done, but I took her by the wrist and pulled her back. Now she turned to look at me, her gaze a little dopey. She was obviously glad this was over, and she seemed to want to be gone already. But I wasn't about to let that happen.
  449. "Stay a while. I need to rub some lotion on that" I said, brushing the red ring around her waist.
  450. A blush spread on her cheeks, and her lips formed a smile. She brought one finger to her mouth and sucked on it, her eyes darting to my crotch. I had already forgotten about that, and because of that I was unable to hide myself in time. To my surprise, her free hand darted to my erect member and brushed the tip with her fingers.
  451. "Ecchi..." she whispered, and then giggled out loud as she lowered herself back into the tub and relaxed against the side, spreading herself out again like she had when we'd started.
  452.  
  453. 13, A.
  454.  
  455. Herein follows the record of how I became a man. It was an experience that I am sad to say had to wait longer than one would expect in a society inhabited by horny Monsters, but there it is. Nojiko's nonchalant attitude toward intimacy with me, and the liberties she took with my body left me somewhat at a loss. It seemed she was inviting me to initiate the... coitus. Lovemaking. Sexy times. Romp in the tub. Of course she wanted me to take the lead, she had no experience with such things. Then again neither did I, but she wouldn't know. And at least I'd had access to unlimited porn works, whereas she hadn't. Despite this, she had developed a healthy adolescent sex drive. Despite my recent indiscretions when it came toward scents, I like to think of myself as being in possession of a healthy libido as well. Moreover I have never believed the act of sex to be in any way a bad thing, and as long as it was two consenting adults - or just two consenting sapient beings, what with the Sabbath being one of the major religions - it was both moral and recommendable.
  456. And yet I'd never done it until then. I'm no prude, surely, but still I was a virgin when I entered the tub with Nojiko. Yes, I entered a bathtub as a boy accompanied by a Japanese centipede monster, but I left it a man.
  457. Ahh, I wish I could speak of the gentle, romantic manner in which we did it, as I gently held her hand, kissed her, put it in slowly and thrust at a pace so mild I didn't cause her any pain whatsoever. I wish I could write here of the longing moans and sighs she'd have let out between our kisses, of how we whispered sweet nothings to each other and how the Earth moved beneath us.
  458. Alas. I have no such tale to tell. I keep this journal to record the truth of myself and my actions in regards to Nojiko, and I will remain honest. As such it is my regrettable duty to inform my hypothetical reader of my being possessed by a spirit of PERVERSENESS, or however Edgar Allan Poe put it. Might have been an Imp.
  459. As soon as she'd leaned back and relaxed, her pale, soft body exposed to me fully, her little legs spreading out even more as a woman with humanoid legs would do, even though this woman couldn't cover her pubic area with her legs no matter how she tried, I jumped her. There was a fearsome pulse to my heartbeat, and even my cock twitched, the grotesque thing that still quite tingled where her slender fingers had brushed against it. I took her breasts in my hands as if I were a preteen boy, groping them with no clue as to what I was doing with them. I had my legs around her, my knees painfully sticking to the sides of the tub, and she was helplessly pinned down. Her antennae reached my head and brushed against my cheeks, her eyes were half closed, her lips parted, she was breathing through her mouth already, as if anticipating the exertion that was to come, and her arms reached around my shoulders to pull me down, her antennae tapping my neck, my back, our lips came together and there was something there, about her saliva, or the way our tongues rubbed together, but it was like she'd received an electric shock and her back arched, her belly brushed into my cock, I moved my hands from her tits, one hand behind her head to support it while we kissed, the other down to reach her slit, it didn't even occur to me she might not have been wet, and I just jammed it in.
  460. And now I realize that was the longest sentence I've ever written. In any case, I went in without any foreplay to speak of, while she was still sore from her molting, still overly sensitive, still so vulnerable, and it was her first time on top of that. Little else can be said of that initial act of ours, I moved my hips mindlessly, encountering less resistance than I had expected, her insides so hot I wished the bathwater was cold, and her antennae never stopped their tapping and twitching, and when they brushed the front of my face I gave one a lick, making her shudder, as if the assault on her antennae had doubled what she was being put through, but I hardly cared, as I had reached my limit, and only barely had the presence of mind to pull out. When I did, there was no ejaculation, and so I felt a little unreal, letting go of her.
  461. Nojiko slumped down and my cock was at around the level of her chest. I don't know by what mental process she arrived at the idea, but she caught me between those little things, and squeezed them together. My orgasm didn't take long, and when it did, I fell back on my ass, with my jizz having flown on her face.
  462.  
  463. I'm ashamed to tell this tale, but I can in my defence say, that we improved significantly when we began round two.
  464.  
  465. 13, B.
  466.  
  467. Round two took some time to initiate. Having just reached my climax, the spirit that overtaken me dissipated, and from that haze of lust I awoke to find myself... sad. A sense of melancholy was starting to well up in me, and looking at Nojiko did not help at all. My discharge was on her face, covering her chin and lips, some even having reached the tip of her nose. She seemed to have bluescreened at this, the only part of her body that was doing anything was her antennae, which explored the sticky white goo. Her face was flushed, her eyes closed, and after her feelers had confirmed that the foreign substance seemed harmless, her tongue slowly and shyly came out from between her parted lips and the tip of it sought out new sensory data, carefully and meekly tasting it.
  468. "Salty" she mumbled, then licked it all off as if she found it to her liking. This was a biological oddity that occurred in most Monsters, or so my experience with porn has told me. When it turned out her tongue couldn't quite reach the tip of her nose or her chin, she used her antennae to swipe herself clean, then brought them to her mouth to clean them in turn.
  469. This whole show had left me in a state of arousal, but quite hesitant to act upon my impulses a second time, as I believe I did cause her some harm the first time. Of course, when she opened up her eyes and looked at me, there wasn't even a hint of a grudge in them.
  470. "Was that all?" she asked, disappointed. Yes. She was disappointed in my performance, not because I had been too rough, but because I made an early withdrawal. THAT is the kind of girl my Nojiko is. You must understand, whomever I'm writing to, that it was a matter of my manly pride that I be able to satisfy her, that I had no choice but to indulge in the pleasures of sex a second time and do more, to explore her more, to do more to her body, for her sake, of course? Yes, you understand. There was no other avenue left for me.
  471. And yet, there was an issue. The first time I sheathed my sword, I'd not even given a passing thought to protection, only managing to gather enough wits to pull out at the end. Now I was more level headed, and taking some responsibility here was a given. A wicked thought occurred to me, and I'm not certain if recording this will give me the catharsis I hope for, but yes, I did think it, and if truth is what I'm writing here then it must be admitted to. I considered making a condom out of her molted skin. As in, taking a bit that had once covered one of her legs, removing it from the whole, and just sliding it on my member as if it were a condom.
  472.  
  473. Such foolishness was quickly ignored, of course. I knew better than to harm my sensitive parts, or hers, with such a texture. By some passing fancy I did touch it, however, and found the texture to be... rather soft, still. Suppose it remained wet all the time, it wouldn't harden. That was quite fine, wasn't it? Indeed, I told myself, and ripped off a leg from that old skin.
  474. "W-what are you doing?" wondered Nojiko, still worn from her experience, if her lust remained unquenched.
  475. I explained to her with some fumbling the purpose of preservatives, and her mood sank some.
  476. "You don't want babies?" she asked.
  477. "Not yet" I said, being the smooth operator I am, and the addition of "yet" seemed to ease her anxiety over the issue, though I must admit I cannot in any honesty say if I wish to have children with her at all, she's but a child herself. In experience, that is, not in body. Her body was mature enough, if not quite ripened to the point I myself prefer. All I cared about then though, the one thing that directed my actions, was the salvation of my manly pride through proper loving, and this I would accomplish using her old skin as a condom. The thought seems downright horrifyingly sickening in retrospect, but at the time I was horny and so was she, and I suppose the ends justify the means. No I don't. I feel awful now. But I didn't then.
  478.  
  479. But hark! My erection had ceased. I thought to stroke myself, but then Nojiko leaned to me and offered to do it for me. Curious as to what she might do, I laid back and allowed her to work her magic, eager to see whether she would use her hands, mouth or breasts. It was none of these, and neither was it her hair. No, what she used was something rather unexpected - her antennae.
  480. Two of them, they were segmented and almost tentacle-like in their composition, feeling soft against my semi-flaccid member, wrapped around and showed some considerable dexterity. They loosened and tightened their grip asymmetrically, that is, both of them in at their own pace, and writhed up and down as if gently jerking me off. I got hard quickly, while Nojiko grinned like an idiot and sighed and moaned, her sensitive antennae filling up her brain with such sensations as were pleasing to her. She noticed I was ready and slipped the makeshift condom on me, looking a little put off by the fact that it had up until recently been a part of her body, but she slid it on me nonetheless, being more eager to be satisfied than she was shaken by the perversion of this.
  481.  
  482. She lied back and opened up again, inviting me in as she had before. Showing greater restraint than before, I began to wonder if I hadn't roughed up her insides too much last time, and asked her how she felt. Too late, of course, but common sense did eventually overtake me.
  483. "It's fine" she said, not looking me in the eye.
  484. "It might hurt when I pop your cherry" I said, not sure if she even know what being a virgin meant.
  485. "Huh?"
  486. "You know, inside you there's like, this membrane..." I tried, feeling incredibly awkward and having no idea if she knew what a membrane was.
  487. "That's not there anymore" she said in a whisper.
  488. "I-it's not?" asked I, confused as to how a virgin had managed that.
  489. "I got lonely a lot..." she mumbled, still not looking at me.
  490. "Well that explains that" I said by way of apology, and believe you me, I felt regret over that clumsy remark even as it left my lips, but in the heat of the moment we forgot it, for I plunged into her, pulled her face back to face mine so we could kiss again, and to my surprise she clutched my legs with hers, two legs grabbing both of mine, one at the top and one at the bottom, locking me in place, her tail curling up and reaching for my ass and back to keep me close, and thus in that position I went in and out slowly and gently until she outright demanded I pick up the pace, crossed her arms behind my head and pulled my head to her breasts so she could moan freely, or to her lips for long, sloppy kisses, in turn. She made it clear when she reached her climax, and to my delight, after I managed to find her G-spot - with considerable verbal confirmation - and her clitoris with my thrusts, I granted her two orgasms before reaching my own, and thus we both fell lazily into the tub, having thoroughly filled up our needs for the time being.
  491. As we were lying there, a thought occurred to me, and I pulled the plug from the tub.
  492. "Eeehhh~? Why can't we stay like this for a bit?" she protested.
  493. "Because I still need to rub this lotion on your rash" I told her, feeling an evil grin on my face. She submitted immediately, got out of the tub and lied down on a spread out towel on her belly so I could begin administering the lotion. This process made her squirm and giggle, but she endured it all without a single protest, turning around on her back without a word of command from me, keeping her hips lifted up in the air so the lotion wouldn't rub off on the towel. This left her pubic area up in the air as well, exposed for me viewing pleasure as I rubbed the lotion so very close to it. A part of me wished I had thought to do this as foreplay, but alas.
  494. Of course, there remained no reason not to correct that mistake now that the opportunity had presented itself, and seeing as not only was Nojiko still feeling quite frisky, but my loins felt no fatigue, I deemed it the most appropriate course of action to initiate round three by slipping my fingers inside her while they were slippery from the lotion.
  495. "Tehehehhe~" she giggled, bringing her index- and middlefingers to her mouth, more than happy to join me in another romp.
  496.  
  497. I am well aware that I have made it clear several times that the purpose of this journal is the recording of truth, and I stand by it. I will, however, refrain from writing a description of any kind of the experience we had during our third round. I do this not out of any sense of shame or a desire to hide the truth, but because there is only so many ways one can describe the act of sex where nothing out of the ordinary takes place, and in the context of the two first rounds, nothing we did really was out of the ordinary. Thus I will not stop my writing, and will return to this record shortly with the aftermath of our actions, and how it changed both our lives. It cannot be expected, after all, that the status quo would have remained after we made love, not once, not twice, but thrice, and forever ended the relationship we had had before, whatever that had been, and instead entered into that of a man and a woman.
  498.  
  499. 13, C.
  500.  
  501. The night after Nojiko and I made love for the first time was a troublesome one. Not so much because we couldn’t stand being around each other, that was not a problem at all, but there had to be some changes to the sleeping arrangements, and that was precisely because she could no longer keep herself away from me.
  502. As soon as we’d gotten out of the tub and had our clothes back on, Nojiko had grabbed hold of my arm and rubbed her cheek against mine, tapping my head and face with her antennae. This was a show of intimacy if I’d ever seen one, and there’s hardly any room for error in deciphering it. I was her boyfriend now, plain and simple. The boyfriend of a girl who had until recently been isolated from society or any sapient company. A girl with no education, no real paperwork about her existence as far as I knew… all these issues suddenly felt like they were very much MY problem, my personal problem, and of course they were. She was practically a child when it came to all that stuff, even if she was mature enough in body.
  503. It was difficult to think about all that stuff when she was nuzzling though.
  504.  
  505. Following the molting, I saw some immediate changes in her body. Not immediately though. I knew, on an intellectual level, that she’d grown bigger, which was the whole reason for her to molt in the first place. Thing is, I only realized she’d GROWN BIGGER when she took her usual seat at the table, which was several chairs and a stool, and her tail didn’t fully fit on the stool.
  506. I didn’t take any measuring tape or anything to get accurate numbers, but I’d say that she grew maybe 8 centimetres length-wise. That would be a lot on a human, and immediately noticeable, but on her centipede body it didn’t really appear all that clearly until I saw the end of her tail hanging over the stool’s edge. She was still nowhere near the length I’d seen on the internet when I’d checked out Oomukade back then. That meant she would molt many, many more times. The idea made me feel… frisky. Yes, I admit it. I was aroused by the thought of getting to recreate the previous events again. I was looking forward to it. I AM looking forward to it.
  507. In any case, the molting didn’t just mean she grew longer; it was obvious she’d increased her circumference as well. I made no comments on that though; girls tend to be sensitive to this kind of thing. I still made a hefty meal with rice swimming in the grease of the chicken it was accompanying. To help her grow.
  508.  
  509. Then we found our way to the living room to watch something silly. The night’s entertainment was the second film in a series about a loli Oni boxer, Little Mimi, who began a journey to become the very best, like no-one ever was. There was a lot of drinking and nudity in that movie, and all throughout it, Nojiko was giggling. And in close contact with me. Yes, under ordinary circumstances, that is, up until now, she’d be lying on the sofa on her own, while I’d be seated in a somewhat more ascetic manner, on a simple chair. That evening I was seated on the couch with her, while she leaned on me with her human body and had her tail running to one end of the couch, then doubling back and coming back to us. It all fit under the blanket we somehow ended up under. This became the first time I’d ever spent an evening watching a movie with a girl in… this way. After experiencing it, I must wonder how anyone could ever spend their evenings in a different manner.
  510.  
  511. The only time I managed to shake her off was when using the bathroom, but we still brushed our teeth together. There was no negotiating with her on this.
  512.  
  513. And then it was bedtime. I had suspected there might be something like this coming up, and so it didn’t catch me by surprise when she didn’t slink away under the bed like she usually did, but rather jumped – yes, I said JUMPED – on to my bed.
  514. My bed is not very big. It’s not really meant for two people. That is two adult human -sized people. You can hazard a guess as to how well it can accommodate a person and an Oomukade. Under the bed she might have plenty of space for herself, but on the bed… how would the two of us fit there, then?
  515. Nojiko didn’t seem worried about it, rummaging about until she’d disappeared under the covers completely. Natural instincts, perhaps?
  516. I found myself somewhat worried about a girl getting up close and personal with my bed, but then again, we’d had sex. What did it matter?
  517. “It stinks here! Like sex!” she said then, and my heart skipped a beat. What a little minx. For a brief moment the issue of sleeping comfortably was ignored in favour of fooling around again. Of course, we didn’t have a condom handy at the time, and so we applied ourselves to the tried-and-true method of using our mouths on each other. Afterwards we ended up sleeping in a somewhat manageable position, that is to say, we were spooning. I was the little spoon, and her tail ran over my legs. She stirred in her sleep very little, but her little legs twitched every now and again. And her antennae were not asleep at any point as far as I could tell. They were constantly trying to make sure that I was still there, as if the fact that she was rather tightly attached to me already wasn’t proof enough. All in all my first night in a shared bed was an experience I enjoyed on an emotional level, but thinking back on it, I think we need a bigger bed.
  518. I write these recollections in the bathroom, where I am now dealing with her old skin. Something should be done with it, after all.
  519.  
  520. 14, A.
  521.  
  522. Yesterday I ringed dad and asked him if he still had that old grill that we hadn’t used since we got the new one. Of course he did have it, as my father is not the manner of person to throw things away. I asked him if he could bring it to my place, to which his reply was some angry grumbling, which, naturally, meant “Of course my son, it’s no trouble at all!”
  523. Our brief conversation over the phone didn’t include a mention of the real reason why I needed this grill. My mother and father don’t actually know about the changes to my living arrangements, and I aim to keep it that way until such a time as I have no real choice but to come out with it. Somehow I worry mom would not take too much to a big, creepy, crawly thing like Nojiko. Dad of course would merely nod about it and then ask me discreetly about the mechanics of our sex-life. I don’t want to have to deal with either any time soon.
  524. Ah yes, the grill. Well, as it happens, I was raking the leaves in the backyard and Mrs. Stripes popped up at the fence, as silently as a ninja or, more accurately, a cat, and asked me if I had one. Naturally I didn’t, and she seemed quite disappointed, saying that the last fleeting days of summer would be best enjoyed with food cooked out in the open. Who was I to argue about that? My secret recipe wasn’t ready yet anyway.
  525. So I called my father and since it was to be until the evening before he could drop the grill at my place, I turned my thought to the actual cooking. What was it that I, being the host and all, would serve to my party of three? I knew nothing about barbecues, after all. I considered looking things up online, but after encountering recipes that required six hours to complete and outrageous arguments about potato salad I decided to keep things simple. What mattered wasn’t what a culinary feast it would be, but that it would be outside and cooked on the grill, right? Thus I made a simple grocery list that ought to handle the situation just fine (I am writing this while waiting for the appointed hour of 17:20 when Mrs. Stripes said she’d jump the fence to my side. Whether she will actually do this or if she was just joking remains to be seen), that is, some sausage (owing to some advice from an Elf online), corn, and of course beer.
  526. Now I’m not much of a drinker myself, and Nojiko has never had a drop of alcohol, but Mrs. Stripes strikes me as the kind of woman who goes through a glass of wine or two with every meal. An eight-pack of beer should see us through. I had considered cider but that’s kind of Alpy.
  527. The shopping tour itself didn’t go as planned. The corn I got as planned, and the beer, yes, but when it came to the sausages, I was overwhelmed by the choice presented to me. Last time I will take advice from an Elf, dear diary.
  528. What I ended up picking up was a pack of four individual sausages that were apparently spiced with habanero (these I intend for myself) and another pack of four with cheese in them (for the ladies), after which I came to the conclusion that this sausagefest had gone far enough (I admit to a state of slight intoxication at the time of this writing) and with no real idea what to remedy this problem with, I picked up a pack of kebab on sticks. They eat so much of the stuff in Europe nowadays, it has to be good, right? Of course I also considered the American way, the hamburger, but I can’t say a hamburger without proper mayo is worth eating, and I moved from that idea to thinking if you could cook chicken wings on a grill. Technically speaking, you could. But what’s the point with store-bought wings, anyway? Then what about steak? Not proper steak, of course, that would be expensive, but the kind that’s more flour than meat. With onion in it. They make that kind of thing, apparently. Seemed as good an idea as any to me.
  529. It did occur to me that maybe we should get some kind of salad or something, but decided against it. I was never too keen on salads myself. Instead I got some tomatoes, intending to get those all crispy as well. The menu we ended up with wasn’t exactly exotic or proper, but it was something. It IS something. The sixpack of beer that remains untouched should be serviceable as refreshments. Ahh, indeed. To you, my dear diary, I can confess my sins. I took the liberty of removing these two cans, and consuming them. To drown away to voice of my conscience, you understand. I don’t think I’ve yet explained what it is that hounds me now. All this talk of the barbecue is little more than an attempt at avoiding the truth, the truth that I must get off my chest. I suppose I should just get it over with. My secret recipe, I call it… and it looks like I already mentioned it, actually.
  530.  
  531. Right. Nojiko’s chitinous shell, the skin she shed, whatever I should call it, well… it began to dry up rather nicely, and ended up being completely rigid. I wondered if I should keep it, like I did with her hair, but then I thought that since this molting stuff would happen several times after this, as she grew bigger thanks to proper nourishment, well, it seemed like the only reasonable solution, the only solution at all, really, was to dispose of it.
  532. But how, that’s the question, isn’t it? I can’t just throw it out with the garbage, or recycle it, or dump it anywhere, it would cause trouble if anyone found it, I mean, something that big and quite obviously monstrous just showing up would lead to all kinds of issues, and with Nojiko not really being a documented immigrant… I just don’t want to think about what would happen if the authorities got involved with her through something like that rather than me and her approaching them together, and that will have to wait until she’s mentally and physically in a much better shape.
  533. What else could I do with it, then? Burn it with leaves? That might end up getting me fined, too, and lead into the same issues. The solution that I came up with, the only one that made any sense, anyway, was chopping it up into little pieces. It took quite a while, as there was still a little bit of flexibility in it, making it hard to crack, but it was already dry enough to be hard as nails. Breaking it into pieces required considerable effort and I ended up with sore hands and arms from it by the time it was all in a heap on the floor, torn to shreds smaller than a page from the notebook I’m writing on. These could be put in a garbage bag and dispatched with discreetly, couldn’t they? Of course they could. And even then I knew I could. But was that what I thought when I looked at it all? No it was not.
  534. The door to the bathroom was locked, naturally, but I still checked it. Then I brought a piece closer to my face, to study it from the point of view of someone who didn’t need to dispose of it, but of someone admiring and studying it. I’d never really looked very carefully at this part of her, whatever it had been before being removed. The colour was fading from it, and rather than the dark, deep, sleek and almost… juicy colour of Nojiko’s living, breathing body, this flake was turning a dead and dry dun. Still, it was very much her. Like a nail-clipping, or those pieces of hair I had hidden away. There was absolutely no smell. I saw the little details of the make-up of the chitin though, and admired it, bringing it closer. I kissed it. I gave it a little lick, just to check. There was no real taste, either.
  535. I put it in my mouth, bit down and tore a piece off, chewing it. It was like chewing that piece of plastic you sometimes remove from the inside of a plastic bottle cap. Only this wasn’t plastic. This was practically flesh. Skin anyway. It had a stuffy taste. Not a real taste at all, really.
  536. That’s when I decided that the proper method of disposing of it was to eat it. That’s what Nojiko had always done before, hadn’t she?
  537. The details of my secret recipe remain unknown. But I do know that from now on, these bits will be consumed, piece by piece. I probably could just tell her about it. Somehow I’m scared to.
  538. No more time for this, though. It’s 17: 18 now. I’m going to head outside and lighting the grill. At least this meal will be without chitin.
  539.  
  540. 14, B.
  541.  
  542. It has to be said, Sunshine is not so far past her prime as one might think from seeing her outward appearance. As a matter of fact, as she herself tells it, she’s been keeping herself in “nigh-competition shape” ever since she was banned from competing in catrobics due to, and I quote, “performing a super decadouble back flip off the high bar and landed directly on their competitor's face”. This apparently led to much toil and trouble and various displays most unsuitable for children. My imagination ran rampant when I heard this, of course. They were both cats, in tights, and one’s posterior, or possibly fronterior, was on the other’s face, and there must’ve been hissing and scratching after a while. How long that while was? I couldn’t speculate, really.
  543. In any case, she showed up at our little party in the exact manner she had said she would. And she had meant it quite literally, as it turned out.
  544. Sunshine Stripes, dressed in the kind of clothing people went jogging in during the 80’s, stretched and yawned in her yard as cats are wont to do – and believe you me, dear diary, that she was a sight to behold, and one that left me feeling confused and aroused, despite no longer being a virgin – and then, without picking up any speed or without exerting any kind of effort that I could see, she just, sort of, jumped over the fence.
  545. I can’t stress enough how difficult it is to describe this. If you’ve ever seen a cat jump somewhere high, you can probably tell what I mean, though. The way the cat just doesn’t really jump as much as it moves from point A to point B without, you know, doing anything. And it’s all so silent, too. Like, the damn animal has mass – in Sunshine’s case quite a bit, I imagine – and it just doesn’t make any noise or impact and it’s all just so smooth and slick. Now that you’ve got that in your head, pretend that it’s being done by a human sized and human shaped feline of considerable maturity.
  546. She landed on my side without a noise, a single strand of her hair escaping the hairdo as she did, and she put it back into place while looking at me with those shiny yellow eyes that seemed to say “Delicious, I’m eating it!”, and of course she then said the same thing out loud. My heart skipped a beat before I realized she’d meant the actual food.
  547.  
  548. Ah yes. The food. Dad did bring some coals and even some of that fluid to get the fire in the grill going, and it only took me a single match to get it aflame. When Sunshine showed up, I had already placed four sausages – three with cheese, one with habanero – on to the grill, with the corn around them in a shape that resembled a square. The sizzling of it all was a nice sound, and the scent, while not really all that appetizing to me, might very well have been something a cat found irresistible.
  549. I realize I’ve yet to make any mention of Nojiko here, when recording her has been the entire purpose of this journal. Indeed, indeed. How did SHE react to the idea of going outside, cooking food in a fire and eating it out there?
  550. By hiding under the bed and making thumping noises by raising her hind up and crashing it down on her bedding. She offered me no words of refusal or protest. Just that thumping. And hiding. I did try to talk to her. She thumped harder until I shut up.
  551. Quite. She’d been perfectly out of sight while dad was dropping the grill and the coals, but that was to be expected, really. Meeting new people might be a little overwhelming for her, after all. For now, that is. I was actually hoping that eating outside might help with that, a little. I don’t think she’s spent all that much time outside, especially when there’s been daylight still out. She did come out from under the bed eventually, but that was yesterday. As I’m writing this update, we’ve of course already wrapped up our little get-together, and things turned out just fine, and Nojiko isn’t even the one at the top of my mind after the events of today. Oh no. The one I’m thinking of is that old cat. But I’m writing now, and since I am, I’ll write of Nojiko.
  552. My previous update mentioned the consumption of some beer. I did this initially to calm my own nerves, thinking a little liquid encouragement might help me keep everything under control and prevent me from burning the house down – incidentally, drinking might not be the most effective way of going about this – and so I consumed one can on my own. The other I did not drink entirely on my own. I actually drank less than half of it. Less than a third, even.
  553. Liquid encouragement, yes. That is what I thought it would be. Earlier today, I took the liberty of offering beer to Nojiko in the hopes that she would find from that the courage to resist her natural instinct of hiding under the bed and making thumping noises with her tail. I still remember her reaction to it. A suspicious glare, a stare at me, twitching antennae, a careful sip, a frown, more twitches, a bigger sip, more twitching, a smack of her lips, another sip, a licking of lips and a twitching of antennae, and then a proper gulp.
  554. I have as of yet left it unmentioned that the beer I, an inexperienced and ignorant drinker, had bought, was, in fact, some Dwarven Lager. It shouldn’t be difficult to imagine the effects such a thing has on the uninitiated. Myself included, of course. I believe I must take a small break from this narrative now, gather my thoughts. Nojiko and I, we may have made asses of ourselves, but Sunshine, she… she’s snoring on my couch now.
  555.  
  556. 14, C.
  557.  
  558. These are the events as they happened.
  559.  
  560. Sunshine Stripes walked up to the grill with her hips swinging in a most feminine, feline gait, and leaned down over the smoke to take a deep whiff. She licked her lips in a most feline but also most unfeminine manner – at least unladylike manner – and did something I knew her species could do, but I’d never seen in real life. She extended a claw. From the fluffy confines of her index-finger. It’s funny, really. In most of the old depictions of Werecats they either drew them with perfectly human hands or with big, fluffy paws, and neither is really correct. I wonder why it is that they used both extremes rather than the middle ground that’s actually true.
  561. In any case, she extended a claw from her index finger. In that hook she caught a sausage. One with habanero in it, I might add, and to my horror, I add as well.
  562. She brought it to her mouth, blew on it and with a very careful nibble, caught the skin and peeled it away with a ripping noise.
  563. Cats are fond of the skin on a sausage. Keep this is in mind for the future if you ever need to please a one, be it your pet, a stray who craps in your yard or even the more humanoid kind that hopefully doesn’t do that. The crispier the skin is the better. A little char doesn’t hurt, either. I should put this up as a sticky-note somewhere for future reference as well.
  564. Sunshine Stripes enjoyed herself, quite obviously. I, being at the time intoxicated, saw the sausage pierced by her hooked claw and the difference in the bit still covered by the brown skin and the bit at the tip that was now just the pink innards, found myself aroused at the sight of her playing with it, licking at it. The looks she gave me seemed to indicate she was doing it on purpose. Or maybe she was just squinting because of the smoke coming into her eyes. Yes, that may have been the case. Maybe any interpretation of the lewdness of her actions was simply me projecting my own depravity on to her. I might need to consult some professional help one day. Like I did when I thought my house was haunted. Perhaps it’s best to leave that as it is. I digress. What matters is that she liked what she tasted, and she quite obviously was not intimidated by the hot spices in the sausage, as shown when she brought the pink, skinless bit into her mouth and snapped it off, chewing very carefully and deliberately.
  565. “It’s a little hot” she said, smiling warmly. If she’d gone wink-wink, nudge-nudge, maybe then I would have realized why she said so before she had to roll her eyes at my obtuseness. That’s a word you don’t see in use every day. Obtuseness. I’m just trying to skirt around the subject again.
  566.  
  567. These are the events as they happened. Nojiko opened the backdoor and, very shyly, peaked out from behind the curtains that I used to cover the glass. Her antennae twitched in her drunken stupor – and yes, that’s what it was, no sense in denying it – and she scuttled outside. This could very well have been the first time she was outside in broad daylight since her childhood.
  568. I know I have expressed previously some concern over my neighbours or over someone else finding out about her and somehow this ending up with the officials getting involved and so on and so forth. The backyard, however, was situated in such a manner that it wouldn’t be directly visible from the road, and with the fences up and with one of my neighbours already actually being there with me, I could say the risks were practically non-existent. It seems that she realized this as well. Or maybe it was the lager. Which she was carrying with her. Yes, she had the remaining six-pack with her, and as she scuttled out, tripping over on her many legs – which real centipedes never do, I might add – she removed one can and handed it over to Sunshine.
  569. Yes. Nojiko, who had no real experience of any kind of social interaction, was able to read Sunshine better than I was, offering her the beverage at a subtle hint. While drunk.
  570. Sunshine thanked her, checked the label with a grin – a grin I trust was meant to convey that she knew exactly what the stuff was – and then opened the can, made a small gesture of skåling and went bottoms up.
  571.  
  572. We ate a great deal. Everything I had bought was put on the grill at some point, and eventually consumed. There was less lewdness from Sunshine now that Nojiko was present, but she presented a whole new level of stuff and things. My vocabulary fails to find anything do describe it. I’ll try to.
  573. First off, the corn. She grabbed it in her hands by both ends and ate it like Donald and Goofy in those old Disney cartoons. Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, chop, chop, chop. That’s how she went, from one end to the other, and then turned the cob around.
  574. Mrs. Stripes, showing the dignity and maturity apropos to someone of her age, followed suit and gnawed up her own cob the same way. They dug into the sausages and I had to actually fight for my last habanero one. The look in Nojiko’s eyes changed when she was eating. There was a sort of thoughtless, mad glint, and so did the damn cat. I tried to keep up with their ravenous hunger and put the kebab on the grill. As soon as they were charred nicely, the two started snatching them up, drooling.
  575. It was then that I realized they were both actually carnivorous predators. A human is an omnivore and not anywhere near as ferocious around meat. By the time I got to the steak I was myself feeling a twinge of hunger on account of having missed out on most of the cuisine despite being the one closest to the mouth-watering aroma. That was unfair. Extremely unfair. I’d have drowned by sorrows in some Dwarven Lager if the ladies hadn’t seen fit to lighten the load on those as well. The moment I realized this, I came under a panic. If Nojiko got so intoxicated from a can that wasn’t even full…
  576. Of course I am now dealing with the aftermath. As I’ve been writing, the coals have gone cold and the grill has been emptied of them, water has been poured on them, and everything has been packed away. The gluttony… the gluttony was unexpected, but manageable. It was the drunkenness that troubled me. The girls, well, the girl and the lady, with their bellies bulging with mostly meat, a blush on their faces and a waver in their step – they only managed to avoid falling over thanks to the feline sense of balance and the sheer number of legs to support that they had to help them out – and made their way inside.
  577. I had not had a single can of the stuff since the one I drank before Sunshine showed up.
  578.  
  579. These are the events as they happened. Third time’s the charm.
  580.  
  581. Dwarven Lager is strong stuff, but even with all they drank, the chances of actual alcohol poisoning were downright unrealistic. They’d eaten a great deal, after all. The drink didn’t leave them with much time for slobbering or fighting or whatever the drunk Oomukade and Werecats do in nature. Rather, they were overcome with after-meal drowsiness, and by instinct tried to seek out a comfy place to sleep. For Nojiko, this meant her little nest under my bed. She required some help finding it, and I had to walk her there while holding her hand – and I did this solely for her own good, to guide and support her – on account of her antennae being all droopy and lifeless. In the end I couldn’t get her under the bed, as she collapsed on my bed and lost consciousness. With some effort I lifted her whole body on to the bed and tucked her in. I hope she’ll be able to sleep it off and wake up with a minimal hangover. I fear the worst, and will prepare strong coffee and a proper, greasy breakfast for her when she wakes up.
  582. And for my other guest as well. Sunshine must be an experienced drinker, and yet she fell victim to the lager in her feeding frenzy. She must’ve seen Nojiko as competition and been determined, on a subconscious level, not to lose to her. She ended up on my couch, as I’ve previously noted.
  583. Right. Sunshine. I somehow feel comfortable calling her by her first name now. Don’t know why. Could be it’s because she made such an ass of herself and now she no longer feels so distant and untouchable.
  584. Maybe she no longer feels so distant and untouchable because I touched her tail.
  585.  
  586. 15, A.
  587.  
  588. In perfect honesty, this entry I am now writing has been, for what feels like an eternity, has been something I had to get off my chest, but every time I tried, I fell victim to a weakness of the flesh and instead masturbated to the memory of the events, rather than recording them. My lengthy description of the barbecue has been merely a desperate attempt to prolong the inevitable moment, the moment of truth that I am now forced into. There is no avoiding it. Well, apart from this squirming I am doing now. But it ends. Right here, right now, it ends. Now.
  589. I ended my last entry with the confession that I touched Sunshine’s tail. This is true. It is not the whole truth, but it is true enough. I did. It was enticing, that tail, as fluffy as a tail on a cat should be. Not as fluffy as on a exceptionally fluffy breed, no, for her breed, if she in fact has one, is one of those sleek-furred types, and her tail was more like smooth and soft rather than overly fluffy. It was still a fluffy tail by any means, and to not touch it as it lay there, over the edge of the couch, where she’d passed out on her tummy, just… just inviting me, really. I knew it was the wrong thing to do. I know NOW it was the wrong thing to do. And I did it. And I don’t regret it. At all. I am without remorse and without possibility of redemption. I touched it, and it felt good in my hand. I don’t think I’ve ever touched a woman’s tail before in my life. Pathetic, right?
  590. How to describe it, then? It’s not as if the sensations of my hand immediately spurred me to erection or something. That is not to say I masturbated to her there and then, oh no, I’m not suicidal, but to say that I did not feel arousal would be a lie. It may well have guided my hand as I moved from the tip of her tail, slowly, towards the base, and found myself in mortal dread of her waking up. I also found myself feeling silly that I was petting her tail against the grain, and soon rectified this. It felt so much better and more natural when I did that, and I took a firm grip of her tail after that, running my hand down to the tip with some force, and in her sleep she arched her back and shook her rump. And she purred. Oh yes, she did purr, all Werecats do when pleased, and it is a sound quite curious to hear from the… the throat? The throat of someone who does mostly look like a human woman.
  591. I am only a mortal man. What was I to do when faced with such a thing? I did what any man would do when a woman lifts their ass up like that. I reached for it with the hand that was not around her tail. I touched her left butt cheek. I felt muscle. Of course I did. Someone like her would be fit as a fiddle under those clothes. I ran my fingers gently along, once more fearing she would wake up, but she didn’t, and then I became more, I hesitate to say daring, but yes, more daring, and I removed my hand from her tail and placed both of my hands on her ass, and then I squeezed. She moaned a little in her sleep and kept right on purring.
  592. Would a sensible man have stopped? Perhaps. A sensible man may well have opted not to begin at all. I was past the point of no return then, though. I was at a point where my desire had overridden reason, and so I gently guided that tail of hers over my shoulder and brought my face closer to her ass. With both hands firmly squeezing it, I rubbed my nose in it, like an Eskimo kiss. Then I applied more force and stuffed my face in. I could barely smell any kind of body odour or musk on her, even down here. Cats keep clean, of course. But more importantly, I found that I could actually feel another part of her. That was what snapped me to my senses. I couldn’t go that far. I was no rapist. A molester and harasser, yes, but not a rapist. Never a rapist.
  593. I brought my face away, almost ready to call it quits, but then I remembered something I’d noticed on real cats, and rubbed the base of her tail absentmindedly.
  594. The reaction was that she arched her back up and her ass in the air with such vigour I feared she had been woken up. But to my relief, this was no the case. Her body had reacted subconsciously, her hips had moved on their own. I had no choice, really. She wanted it, and so I kept rubbing that bit. And massaging her butt cheeks as well, because I remember regular cats liking that. Her entire body shook with that, but she didn’t wake up. By then my erection had reached its zenith.
  595. I take no pride in the fact that I rubbed myself against her buttocks. It was firm and the crack offered up the perfect opportunity for it. I didn’t even remove my pants, and I fear my underwear was soiled by the act, but I did climb on the soft and I did grind against her, and I know I should be locked up and then sent straight to Hell with no possibility of parole, but I did it and I’d do it again if I had the chance. It is unlikely I ever will get such a chance, however, as you will soon learn, my dear diary and potential future reader.
  596.  
  597. It is true Sunshine did not wake up to any of the things I did to her. This was not because she had passed out, but because she had been faking her sleep from the beginning. As soon as I had reached my climax and dropped down on my knees, ready to cry over my sins, she stretched and yawned and asked me if I was quite finished now. And once again I must admit that yes, yes I am. Describing what was to follow is even harder than I ever imagined, but at least I’m making some headway.
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